Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th F
McP 9 8 11 16 44
JC 10 5 4 12 31
Fifth place is better than last place as the McPherson High School boys basketball ended the McPherson Invitational on a high note after beating Junction City 44-31. The Bullpups finished the tournament 2-1 and improved their record to 8-4 on the season.
It was a low-scoring game due to the combination of missed layups and aggressive defense. The difference for the Bullpups was knocking all their free throws. McPherson went 7 for 7 on the line and 13 for 16 overall.
Cody Stufflebean led with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Seth Madron added nine points and was 5 for 5 in his free-throw attempts, Jayton Alexander picked up eight points.
It didn’t take until the final two minutes of the first quarter for the Bullpups to make their first shot as they went 0 for 12 in the first six minutes. Junction City’s Howard Johnson knocked back-to-back three-pointers to give Junction City a 10-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. Johnson carried the Blue Jays as he was 5 for 12 from behind the arc and was the only one to reach in double figures with 17 points.
“My only complaint is that they basically have one guy that we needed to cover from the perimeter and that was No.4 Howard Johnson,” Kurt Kinnamon said. “We lost him a couple times and let him go 5 for 12 from 3s but other that, I thought in man-to-man we did a nice job.”
The Bullpups started the second quarter on a 7-0 run. McPherson’s defense also kept the Blue Jays scoreless until the final minute of the third quarter, only allowing four points and picked up their largest lead of the day, 28-19 halftime.
The Blue Jays had a last-minute push in the fourth quarter after a three-point basket made by Johnson. The Blue Jays would outscore the Bullpups 19-7, only trailing 35-27. Back-to-back layups and free throws made by Stufflebean and Alexander gave McPherson an 11-point lead to help close the deal. Once they made their final free throws, it was smooth sailing in the final two minutes.
“I thought our guys did a good job of generating some enthusiasm, creating some turnovers 16 times,” Kinnamon said. “We only turned the ball over seven and we did a great job from the line. That really good long pressure they were putting us but we did a great job moving the ball. I like to see us be more aggressive. We need to make some pay when they try to trap like they did.”
The Bullpups will resume their regular season by traveling to Circle High School for a makeup game on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
McP: Stufflebean 12 pts, Madron 9 pts., Alexander 8 pts., Pyle 7 pts., Schmid 4 pts. Courtney 4 pts.
JC: Johnson 17 pts., Ruffin 5 pts., Dixon 3 pts., Tedder 2 pts., Battiste 2 pts. Humphreys 2 pts.,