McPherson High basketball fans are encouraged to dig into the closet and find whatever pink attire they have.
Tuesday is the annual “Think Pink Night” at the Roundhouse as the MHS teams host arch-rival Buhler in important games. All fans are being encouraged to wear pink in support of the worthy cause.
The action begins at 6:00 with the girls, followed by the boys. Catch all the action on 96.7 KBBE FM with “Voice of the Bullpups” Jim Joyner on the call, beginning with the pre-game at 5:40.
The MHS girls will, as usual, be wearing their pink uniforms and in past years they seemingly have had magical powers, as the Bullpups have unleashed some of their greatest shooting performances.
The Bullpups are riding a 13-game winning streak and are 15-1 overall as they are in a battle for a Top 4 berth in Class 5A West. They have been amazing on the defensive end as in the last four games they have allowed 21, 25, 24 and 17 points.
Not only is it a night of celebration, the Bullpups take on Buhler for the second time this year.
“The girls are always excited to play Buhler and they are always very excited for 'Think Pink Night,' so hopefully we play well and take care of business tomorrow night,” MHS coach Chris Strathman said. “We want to continue to defend the way we have been and speed them up as much as possible. Hopefully we can make some shots against whatever defense they throw at us, but we need to focus on getting the right shots and knowing when it is time to run and when it is time to run offense.”
The Bullpups have had their way with the Crusaders ever since All-Stater Jessica Steffen graduated. Buhler has fallen on hard times the last few years, but are fundamentally sound under coach Brittany Warner.
In the first meeting, MHS came away with a 66-35 victory.
The other highlight of the night is the annual check presentation. According to Strathman, the check the girls will be presenting to WACCC (Women and Children Combating Cancer) is going to exceed those of the past.
“We will be honoring three ladies tomorrow night during halftime of the girls game, and we will be presenting our check at that time,” he said. “It is the biggest check that we have ever had, so we are excited about that. We were fortunate enough to be chosen as the charity recipient of the annual CHS Refinery golf event back in August. Our girls worked that event and we received a very good chunk of what we will be donating to the WACCC organization tomorrow night, in addition to our free throw fundraiser. 'Think Pink Night' is always a highlight of the season so it should be fun.”
And this year’s event means even more to Strathman, who himself recently was diagnosed with colon cancer and under went surgery in December, missing the first month of the season. He reportedly received a clean bill of health as he has returned to the sidelines without incident and his team hasn’t lost since.
The boys’ game is expected to be the more competitive. The Bullpups outlasted the Crusaders 54-51 in Buhler in December, which was MHS’ first win after three losses. It also was the firestarter for 12 wins in 13 games, the only hiccup coming in the finals of the McPherson Invitational to Shawnee Mission East, as the Bullpups are now 12-4.
The youthful Crusaders are just 5-11 and have lost seven of their last nine games. Offense has been the problem as they have yet to hit the 60-point mark in a game this year.
But MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon said the Crusaders will be as well-coached as any team the Bullpups will play.
"As with all games with Buhler, we expect them to throw everything that they have at us," Kinnamon said. "They have been struggling to score as of late as they have had some injuries and so forth. The first game that we played they made 11 3-point shots. They have changed a little bit from their 5-in-5-out philosophy and pressing the whole game. They are much more patient now and don't play as fast as they did the first time we played. We have moved ourselves up to the No. 4 seed in the West. If we take care of business we would be able to host two home games for sub-state. This week has big implications for our seeding."