The long-and-winding road that is the high school basketball regular season reaches its final destination Tuesday night for McPherson High, as the Bullpups make one final appearance before postseason play.
The destination is Rose Hill, with the girls playing at 6 p.m. and the boys to follow. KBBE-FM 96.7 coverage begins at 5:45.
Both MHS teams will be attempting to finish AVCTL Division III play undefeated at 10-0 for the second year in a row.
MHS girls coach Chris Strathman isn’t taking the Rockets lightly. Rose Hill has surged in the last few weeks, climbing to 4-4 in D-III and 7-11 overall.
“Rose Hill is playing much better basketball the second time through the league,” said Strathman, noting the Rockets have scored recent wins over Mulvane and Winfield, teams that put a scare into MHS recently. “They are much more active in their zone and are causing some teams problems with that. A few young girls are getting more playing time and I think that has helped them. You can see that they are playing with a lot more energy and purpose than earlier this season, so we will need to be ready to take their best shot tomorrow night at their place.”
MHS, 14-5 overall, has wrapped up the league title and No. 1 sub-state seed, so the basic incentive is the 10-0 league record. The Bullpups now have won a league title 17 of the last 20 years.
The MHS boys are 17-1 overall as they will play just 19 regular-season games due to the postponement in the Hy-Vee Shootout.
Rose Hill doesn’t figure to offer much resistance, as the Rockets have won just three games this season.
“They are a team that tries to speed the tempo, but they have been playing better lately,” MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “We match up favorably with them sizewise.”
Kinnamon said he would like to see the Bullpups turn in a sharp performance, as they have somewhat slumbered through their last couple of games. MHS came out slowly against Buhler Friday, getting behind 10-2, before drilling the Crusaders the rest of the way.
MHS clinched the league title last week, the 13th under Kinnamon in his 19 years at the helm. Add to that 10 in 12 years won by Mike Henson and that makes 23 in 31 years for the Bullpups.