By Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
ANDOVER— Taking down the No. 1 team and reigning Class 5A State champs was just what the doctor ordered for the McPherson High School boys basketball team. The Bullpups stunned Andover Central 52-47, bouncing back after an 0-1 start and completing an Andover Central sweep after the girls took care of business early on.
The Bullpups looked like a completely different team. Last week there were some nerves and pressure, especially for the first-year starters. Tuesday night was quite the opposite. The Bullpups came in prepared and played with confidence.
“I thought it was tremendous,” Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “I thought we had great alertness from all five guys on the floor.
It wasn’t like the Class 4A semifinals but there were plenty of contacts to go around, yet only one foul was allowed in the first half of the game. The toughest task for the Bullpups was taking on Andover Central’s dynamic duo of Xavier Bell and Shomari Parnell. However, Seth Madron and Jayton Alexander accepted the challenge.
“Jayton gets two points but how many balls did he get hands-on and were helping,” Kinnamon said. “Seth gave away some size and believe it or not with some athleticism against Xavier (Bell), and that won’t happen very often, I thought Seth just battled and battled.”
Bell still got his as he led with 17 points, 12 of those came in the first half. He struggled to make shots in the second. The Jags somehow kept crawling back thanks to the three-point shots made by Jerome Washington. Oddly enough, not a lot of free throws were made on AC’s side because they only lined up for a free throw attempt once the whole night.
Three Bullpups finished in double figures. Madron led with 16. Hayes Schmid, 14, set the tone early in the second quarter after knocking down three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter and made most of his free throws in the fourth quarter. Cody Stufflebean muscled his way to 12 from inside.
“I’m just so proud because quite honestly, we were so bad yesterday in practice, I wasn’t sure that we’re going to win the game this year,” Kinnamon said. “I’m so proud that we just played. We didn’t look tentative, we just played and we had fun and enjoyed each other… loose balls. It was an effort thing because, in our reality, we’re not the most overly athletic team. We were a little bit foot slow and you have to make up for that we with desire, effort, and smarts. I thought our kids were wonderful tonight.”
Now 1-1, the Bullpups will complete their road trip on Friday night when they face Derby High School before returning home for their league opener with Buhler. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.