Sports Editor Peter Holland Jr.
WICHITA— The McPherson High School basketball teams have two more nonleague games left and it all fall to this week. The Bullpups will be on the road Tuesday night as they take on Wichita Collegiate High School. Tipoff for the girls is set for 6 p.m., and the boys follow right after at 7:30 p.m.
February is a crucial month for the Bullpup boys (9-4). With seven more games left, the Bullpups look to make a final push to qualify in the sub-state tournament in Class 5A. A week after their win over Circle High School, the Bullpup boys will have another challenging week against Collegiate (9-3), and then Andale (8-4) High School on Friday night. As the Bullpup boys sit at No. 7 in the Class 5A West standings, every game counts for Head Coach Kurt Kinnamon.
“I am pleased with how we have continued to improve,” Kinnamon said. “Obviously, every game is important for seeding purposes. Collegiate and Andale are both well-coached and they play completely opposite styles.”
Collegiate is led by its sophomore superstar, Gradey Dick. At 6-foot-5 180 pounds, Dick has already received division-one offers from the University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, Purdue University, Creighton, Oklahoma State and the University of Nebraska. There is no question, he will be a handful.
“Grady is a good all-around player and athlete,” Kinnamon said. “We will need to limit his touches and rebound well. Collegiate traps and runs and plays a platoon system.”
The McPherson girls, however, have very little time to rest after suffering their first loss of the year to Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Mid-Americ Classic last weekend. The Lady Pups may no longer be undefeated, but a bounce-back win over a 4-8 Collegiate team is the momentum booster they need before hosting an 8-4 Andale team this Friday.
“We will hope to speed them up and play with great energy, even though we are coming off of our tourney over the weekend,” Head Coach Chris Strathman said.
The top priority for the Lady Pups is to get back to the state tournament, but also take care of the AVCTL Division III league as well. Since their road win at Circle, the Bullpups are the only remaining undefeated team left in their league. After this week, the Bullpups will five more league games left before postseason.
“Along the way, we want to secure the league title as we have a leg up on Circle since we beat them at their place,” Strathman said. “We want to be playing our best basketball about a month from now as we head into the postseason.”
Pyle makes the record books in MAC tournament
Grace Pyle had a monster weekend and she has the numbers to prove it. Pyle made the top ten in all the categories from the Mid-America Classic tournament.
Pyle, who recorded a double-double in three straight games, was ranked second in scoring (19), rebounds (12.7 avg.), assists (4.3 avg.), block shots (7) and field goal percentage (53.8). She was also ranked No. 6 in three-point percentages (42.9), which is one spot behind Emma Ruddle, who shot 44.4 percent and recorded seven steals, which was ranked eighth.
“Grace did have a great weekend, as she played a very well-rounded game all three nights,” Strathman said. “She shot well, was excellent on the boards, and had numerous assists, steals, and blocks. Grace continues to improve as a leader and I am proud of her for that. She just really loves her teammates and playing for McPherson.”
Pyle made the all-tournament along with Kassidy Beam, who finished No. 2 in free-throw percentages (77.8).