Kyler Kinnamon may make like Willis Reed.
More than 1,500 McPherson Bullpup faithful held their collective breaths Friday night when their first-team All-State All-Class point guard stayed on the floor after landing awkwardly during the third quarter against Augusta.
After more than a minute, Kinnamon finally got to his feet and limped to the bench. He sat out the final 12 minutes.
His status for Tuesday’s huge road game at Buhler may not be made until minutes before tipoff.
“Kyler will be a game-time decision, but my gut is that he will be just fine,” MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “We will know more after practice today.”
If he plays, that’s good news for the Bullpups. And bad news for Buhler.
Some of the luster was taken off this highly anticipated matchup when Buhler lost for only the second time this year on Friday, a four-point decision to Winfield. But the Bullpup coach knows that the Crusaders could have been got caught looking ahead since MHS is their biggest rival and undefeated at 7-0.
“It’s always a challenge when you play at Buhler, they have an outstanding crowd and band that make for a lively arena,” Kinnamon said. “Jace Williams will be as athletic from a running and jumping standpoint as any kid we see this year. This is a team that has had a year to mature and get better playing together. The are always well coached and disciplined behind the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Dennis Wahlgren.”
If Kyler Kinnamon can’t go, more than likely Drew Pyle will run the point, backed by Mason Alexander. The Bullpups did get a chance to play most of the second half without their leader on Friday.
Buhler’s loss to Winfield was somewhat of a surprise. The Crusaders are basically the same team from last year and no doubt will be inspired by their home crowd.
In the girls’ game, the Division III lead also will be on the line in a 6 p.m. matchup of once-beaten teams.
The 6-1 Bullpups have won five straight and are undefeated in AVCTL Division III play. Buhler has won its last six since opening the season with a loss to Hesston and is perfect against the other D-III teams. Buhler is coming off a close 51-48 victory on Friday against Winfield.
“It’s only our second true road game of the year,” said MHS coach Chris Strathman, whose team shook off a lethargic start on Friday to easily handle Augusta. “That’s going to be a challenge in itself. We’re going to need to be focused. Getting a win on the road against the other top team in the league would be a very big step for this team.”
The Bullpups won all three meetings between the teams last year, including a victory in the sub-state championship game. Buhler clearly was as good as some of the teams at 4A State at Salina, but couldn’t clear the Bullpup hurdle.
The Crusaders were the pick of nearly all the so-called experts to win Division III this year, because they returned most of their top players from last year, including All-State guard Jessica Steffen. MHS has done a tremendous defensive job on Steffen in past games, with Brooke Bate her tormentor last year.
It was Alex Keller who actually was a thorn in the Bullpups’ side last year and she’s back, as is inside force Kelli Burns.
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