In any tournament, the first-round 4 vs. 5 matchup generally is the best game of the day.
That will definitely be the case on Thursday when McPherson High’s girls take on Dodge City at 7:30 p.m. in the opening round of the 20th annual Mid America Classic at the Roundhouse, hosted by the McPherson Optimist Club.
While the other first-round matchups appear to be standard stuff, there is some intrigue in the Bullpups’ game as they put a 7-3 record on the line against an experienced 5-4 Dodge City team.
“I have been impressed with Dodge City on film so far,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “They have good size and athleticism. They are undefeated in their league so far this season and have played a tough nonleague schedule. We will be excited and ready to play in our home tournament.”
Of course, a potential semifinal game with undefeated 9-0 Andale looms as the Indians are the top seed and expected to breeze in their opener against Wichita Southeast (1-8).
Olathe South (which plays 3-7 Hays) and defending Classic champion Manhattan (which plays 4-5 Valley Center) also are expected to advance without little fanfare. Olathe South (8-2) is ranked No. 3 in Class 6A and Manhattan (7-2) is No. 8, also in 6A.
“I would really expect the top three seeds to advance,” Strathman said. “Of course we have seen Andale and know they are a good team and still undefeated, while Olathe South and Manhattan always bring strong teams to our tournament. We hope to be in the winner's bracket and see what happens from there.”
The Bullpups have not played since their 45-43 overtime loss to Andale last Tuesday. The Bullpups led that game the entire way in regulation, only to see the Indians score with 6 seconds left to tie it, then they won in overtime.
Andale is ranked No. 7 in Class 4A Division I, while MHS is No. 9.
MHS is looking for a repeat trip to the Classic championship game as they were outlasted 44-37 last year by Manhattan after leading 17-10 early on.
• THURSDAY’S SCHEDULE •
3:00 — Olathe South vs. Hays
4:30 — Manhattan vs. Valley Center
6:00 — Andale vs. Wichita Southeast
7:30 — Dodge City vs. McPherson