MHS boys power past Ulysses

By Steve Sell
March 05, 2015
Contributed Photo

HAYS — The first quarter turned out to be Fool’s Gold for the Ulysses boys Thursday night in the Class 4A Division I sub-state first round.

The Tigers gave their fans false hope by nearly matching No. 1-ranked McPherson High point-for-point, trailing only 22-19 as the Bullpups’ defense resembled that of a matador holding a red cape.

But once the Bullpups snapped out of their lethargy, reality set in.

MHS outscored Ulysses 62-21 over the final three quarters for a running-clock 84-40 victory.

In winning its 21st straight this season and 36th in a row over two years, MHS earned a 7:30 p.m. Saturday sub-state championship game against Hays, which held off pesky Buhler 60-53 before the home faithful.

Ulysses guard Tregg Rodriguez fanned the potential-upset flames in the first quarter with 11 points and as a team the Tigers made 4 of 5 3-balls.

MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon smoldered on the sidelines after the period and his team responded after his icy stare.

The Bullpups outscored Ulysses 22-7 in the second quarter and a whopping 32-8 in the third to set the running clock in motion.

Kinnamon wasn’t overly enamored by the game, but it’s too late in the season to get picky. You take the win and go on.

“I’m not sure we ever got serious on defense,” said Kinnamon, whose team in the end held the Tigers to six points under the normal 46 it allows. “I’m about as displeased with the defensive effort as what we’ve had all year long. I just thought we looked nervous, tight, whatever you want to call it. I don’t understand how a team this talented can be that way, but we were a  little bit. But once we righted the ship we were OK.”

The Bullpups were able to exploit the Tigers on the inside as Payton Stephens was 11 of 12 from the field and finished with 27 points, as he appears to have worked through his knee soreness. Point guard Kyler Kinnamon added 17 points and dished off for nine assists. MHS was 31 of 53 from the field.

Leading scorer Drew Pyle was bothered by a severe sinus problem that kept him out of practice earlier this week and Kinnamon limited his minutes as he was held to just three points.

MHS got up in Rodriguez’s grill after the first quarter as he finished with 18 points and was 0 of 7 in the second half, with all four of his points coming from the line.

MHS and Hays should be a dandy matchup. The Indians received a surprising 22 points from 6-3 sophomore Shane Berens tonight, as they normally bank on 6-7 center Brady Werth and 6-2 guard Isaiah Nunnery. His pervious career high had been 13.

MHS (84) — Reed 1-1, 0-0, 3; McDaniel 0-4, 0-2, 0; Smith 0-0, 1-2, 1; Loecker 4-6, 1-2, 9; D. Pyle 1-6, 1-2, 3; B. Pyle 2-2, 3-4, 8; Kinnamon 6-11, 2-2, 17; Stephens 11-12, 5-6, 27; M. Alexander 2-3, 2-2, 6; Wine 3-3, 2-3, 8; Nutter 1-3, 0-0, 2; Gabel 0-2, 0-2, 0. Totals — 31-53, 17-27, 84. 3-pointers — Kinnamon 3, Reed 1, B. Pyle 1.

Ulysses (40) — Rodriguez 5-15, 5-6, 18; Heredia 0-2, 0-0, 0; F. Romero 2-3, 2-3, 6; Zerr 1-5, 0-0, 3; Ballesteros 1-1, 0-0, 2; A. Romero 2-6, 0-2, 4; Paudy 0-2, 0-0, 0; Borthwick 2-2, 0-0, 6; Bankes 0-0, 1-2, 1. Totals — 13-36, 8-13, 40. 3-pointers — Rodriguez 3, Borthwick 2, Zerr 1.