It was a return to the good, old days Saturday night at the Roundhouse.
McPherson fans turned out in force and weren’t disappointed as the Bullpups treated the standing-room-only crowd to a 5-star performance for the ages.
The Bullpups shot a jaw-dropping 74 percent from the field in taking apart a very good and once-beaten Class 6A Manhattan team, 81-58.
McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon credited the crowd for igniting his team, not to mention three 3-pointers to get the place rocking by the sweet-shooting Drew Pyle. This one was over before it barely started, as MHS led 8-0 moments after a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by the choir and the hits just kept on coming.
MHS led 23-8 by the time Manhattan had figured out that trying to play the Bullpups straight-up was the wrong choice of defense. By the time the Indians changed to a zone — which has been the flavor of month for Bullpup opponents – they had eaten too much dust.
This was the Bullpup team of December, not the one that had been idling against some of its lesser competition earlier in the month. This was full throttle Bullpup basketball and the second half was like watching the pregame warmup when MHS shoots layups.
The MHS crowd basically roared itself out by halftime. Yet, it was wonderful to see some semblance of the old days, though fans weren’t three and four deep around the upper ring. It was fun, noisy, exciting and an adrenaline rush for the Bullpup players, who fed off the electricity. We’ll probably never see the crowds of the 1960s and 1970s, but this was about the best I’d seen since they closed the doors for the championship game of the 1996 Mid America Classic matching McPherson High and Little River in a girls version of Hoosiers.
Unfortunately for the Bullpups, they get little time to savor the championship. They are involved Tuesday night in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 Class 4A Division I throwdown in Andale, which could be the last real challenge for the Bullpups in the regular season.
Like the ‘Pups, the Indians are undefeated and have their top six players back from a team that finished third last year in Class 4A Division II. The Bullpups’ inside game will be severely tested as Andale has some heft and height. What sets Andale apart from the other teams with size, though, is the athleticism of its guards, the Knoblauch brothers.
But MHS apprenticed against quickness on Friday against Heights, as no team it plays the rest of the year will be that quick. Even Andale.