Bullpups charge back to defeat Hesston for Summer League title

By Steve Sell
June 30, 2015

McPherson High and Hesston took a sneak peak as to what their basketball teams will be like next year without their bevy of graduated senior stars.

The teams met Monday night in the championship game of the bigger-class schools of the McPherson College Summer League.

The Class 3A Swathers sprinted to an early 10-point lead, but the Class 4A Division I Bullpups unleashed a 20-point turnaround for a 44-34 victory at the Sport Center.

The Bullpups rode the shoulders of expected team leader Drew Pyle, who finished with 23 points, 13 of those in the first half to keep them in the game. Hesston had raced to a 19-9 lead before a Pyle-led charge closed the gap to 21-19 at the break.

The game, played with a running clock, was tied at 29-all with 6:52 left before the Bullpups turned up the defensive pressure and finished on a 15-5 run.

“They’re going to have a really successful season next year,” McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon said of the game Swathers. “They’re going to be pretty good. Anytime you can beat a good team, you can take away a lot of positives from it.”

The Bullpups, who graduated All-State point guard Kyler Kinnamon, All-State inside presence Payton Stephens and underrated inside enforcer Nathan Nutter, had trouble scoring inside against the Swathers, who graduated decorated players Grant Raleigh and Tyler McCartney, mainstays on the 26-0 team of two years ago. Hesston stayed afloat behind the play of the springy Scott Duerksen, who led the Swathers with 10 points.

Offensive execution was a problem for the Bullpups, who may not be able to score inside like last season.

“We’re going to have to find easier ways to score,” Kinnamon said. “We’d like to have a little more balance than that.”

Reserve junior Jacob Lackey was the Bullpups’ second-leading scorer with nine points, seven of those coming in the second half.