Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
What feels like an eternity since the Piper game, it has only been 10 days. Because of the snowstorm last week, the McPherson High School basketball teams were unable to travel to Towanda to face Circle High School last Friday. The games were pushed back at a later date in January. The Bullpups will move forward to another league matchup with Augusta High School tonight at the Roundhouse.
“I really wish we had been able to play on Friday vs. Circle, but it was the right call to postpone,” McPherson girls Head Coach Chris Strathman said. “We had a good few days of prep for them, so we were ready to go. Our girls were able to get a couple of days off last week, which can help us down the road as far as getting and hopefully staying healthy.”
The Lady Pups enter Tuesday’s game still 7-0 and still ties with the Thunderbirds in the AVCTL Division III League. In comes the Lady Orioles (2-4). According to Strathman, Augusta is in the middle of a rebuilding year after being a senior-heavy team last season. The Lady Orioles is coming off a 32-25 win over El Dorado High School last Friday, snapping a four-game losing streak, including a 48-15 loss to Andale High School last Tuesday.
“They are still adjusting and figuring some things out with some younger players, but I do feel like they have some players that will be good once they gain some experience,” Strathman said. “We hope to be able to get into our pressure as I do feel like we can really make them uncomfortable, as long as we are playing with a lot of energy and also being disciplined in our rotations. Our girls are always excited to play at home, so hopefully, we have a great night in the Roundhouse.”
As for the McPherson boys, it won’t come easy. The Augusta boys are entering tonight’s league matchup 5-1 and fresh off a 63-37 win over El Dorado. McPherson boys Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon has his concerns since his boys have not played anyone since their loss to Piper.
“I worry about being rusty after 10 days, especially since Augusta played on Friday. Augusta is a very good team,” Kinnamon said.
The Orioles are loaded with talent that could give the Bullpups a hard time. Augusta is led by its starting guard Jaren Jackson and its 6-foot-8 center Zach Davidson. In its win over the Wildcats, both combined for 37 points. Jackson recently signed to play baseball at Butler County Community College but it’s just as dangerous when the ball is in his hands. while Davidson, who is likely will go one-on-one against Cody Stufflebean, could be deadly inside the paint and is not afraid to shoot it from behind the three-point line either. Stopping one of the two could be a win for the Bullpups.
“They have the size and Jaren Jackson is one of the top shooters in the state,” Kinnamon said. “I expect Cody and Davidson will have quite a battle. A key will be which of them ends up in foul trouble.”
One thing Kinnamon will be looking forward to seeing is his nephew and former K-State player Kade, as he is one of Jake Sim’s coaching assistants for Augusta. Kinnamon believes he has a bright future of being a head coach down the road,
“Kade was a fine player, and he will be an excellent coach,” Kinnamon said. “He had the opportunity to be around a major college program and observe a lot of different scouting reports and ways of doing things. Kade will be a good head coach someday because he has been exposed to so many things related to basketball he will be able to pick and choose what works for him.”