The Winfield Vikings are probably thinking to themselves “this is too soon.”
For the second time in just over three weeks, the Vikings find themselves matched against McPherson High, which on Dec. 12 invaded Winfield to administer a couple of unexpected beatdowns in games that were supposed to be close.
Due to a quirk in the schedule, the teams are finishing their season series here Tuesday night in the first games back from the Christmas break. MHS has yet to play Buhler, Augusta or Rose Hill, three of the other teams in AVCTL Division III.
The girls start at 6 p.m. at the Roundhouse, the boys approximately 7:45. Coverage on 96.7 KBBE FM begins at 5:45 p.m.
For the Bullpup girls, it was their 62-35 rout of the Vikings that kick-started their resurgence as the game was considered a toss-up going in. They have won three games in a row to stand 4-1 on the season.
“It is a little strange to be playing Winfield again so soon, but they have to come this way on a Tuesday night so it is harder on them,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “The girls had some good practices over the holidays. We put in quite a few new things and got better with what we were doing before break as well. It seems like it has been a very long time since we played in the Hy-Vee (Shootout), so I know the girls will be ready tomorrow night.”
Winfield does present some challenges in that it has a good 6-0 post player in Courtney Griffiths, who was held to eight points in the first meeting, and some decent 3-point shooters.
The Bullpups were led by Ally Ulsaker’s 14 points in the first meeting, while Emma Yowell and Taylor Robertson scored 10 points apiece. Cassidy Wedel and Ashtyn Schieferecke added nine apiece in the balanced effort.
The Bullpup boys stunningly obliterated Winfield 68-31 in the first meeting, but MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon is chalking that up to somewhat of an aberration as star Viking guard Will Adler scored just six points, making only 2 of 10 shots. Drew Pyle and Kyler Kinnamon locked him down, but he’s a player who has scored 37 points in a game this season.
“I am a bit worried about Winfield since we won the first game so handily,” Kinnamon said. “They looked like a completely different team against Augusta and shot the ball extremely well. Shutting down Adler will once again be a really big key for us.”
The Bullpups blazed to five double-digit victories last month and Kinnamon was almost disappointed to see the holiday break come.
“I was very pleased with how we practiced over the holidays,” he said. “The kids seem to be refreshed and ready to go. I kind of hated to shut it down after the HyVee because we were playing at at high level.”
The Bullpups welcome back Spenser Wine, who missed the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule recovering from shoulder surgery. Kinnamon said he’s looked very good upon his return and will add a level of physicality to the team.
MHS also is home on Friday, with new AVCTL Division III member Augusta the opponent.