McPherson High basketball coaches Chris Strathman and Kurt Kinnamon have definite thoughts about homecoming basketball games.
The Bullpups will be hosting Rose Hill Friday in the annual coronation of the MHS Queen and King. The girls start the evening at 6 p.m.
“Homecoming can be a distraction, but so is Think Pink Night for the girls,” said Strathman, whose No. 5-ranked team is 5-1 in AVCTL Division III and 11-4 overall as it continues in hot pursuit of Buhler of both the league title and the sub-state No. 1 seed. “We just have to block all of that out and take care of the task at hand.”
Kinnamon is even more direct.
“If homecoming is a distraction then we are not the team that I think we are,” Kinnamon said.
Both Bullpup teams scored road victories against the Rockets in the first meeting, as Rose Hill has struggled all year. But both coaches believe the Rockets have some potential.
“In watching Rose Hill on film, they are playing a couple of freshmen now that they weren't the first time,” Strathman said. “It looks like they have a more aggressive mindset now overall. I think their three best players are sophomores, so they have some nice, young players. Their leading scorer, Mackenzie Herman, did not play against us the first time, so we could be seeing a much different team from what we saw at their place.”
The Bullpups are hoping to get off to a fast start. In recent games, they have meandered for about the first 12 minutes, then closed the half strong before turning on the afterburners in the second half.
Rose Hill’s boys put up a spirited battle in the first meeting even though MHS was a comfortable winner. However, the Rockets have a puncher’s chance against Class 4A Division I’s No. 1-ranked team from the standpoint they attempt a lot of 3-pointers.
“They made eight 3-point shots on us in Rose Hill, so I would love to see us do a better job of getting to their shooters,” Kinnamon said. “Down there they played very well and we acted surprised by it. We have to realize that everyone is going to give us their best shot.”
The Bullpups tightened the screws defensively on Tuesday, limiting Great Bend to just 33 points. It was their 30th consecutive win as they are chasing after history, with 34 the school record during the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
MHS is 6-0 in D-III and 15-0 overall. This is the Bullpups’ first league game in nearly a month as, ironically, Rose Hill was the last league opponent on Jan. 16.