The McPherson High School boys basketball team is garnering a reputation for living and dying by the 3-pointer.
Tuesday night at Augusta, the Bullpups made 13 3-pointers en route to a 30 point win. Friday night against Andale was a different story.
The Bullpups made just 4 of 21 3-pointers (19 percent) while Andale shot 53 percent from beyond the arc to invade and safely leave McPherson with a 53-43 win. It was not the way the Bullpups wanted to enter the McPherson Invitational which starts Thursday, but there’s nothing left to do now but put this game in the past where it belongs and game plan for Shawnee Mission East.
“Andale was shooting wide open 3’s off good screening action, whereas we were shooting contested 3’s off of no action,” head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “We’ve got to shoot the ball better, and when we’re not shooting the ball well, we have to be willing and able to get the ball inside.”
Ben Pyle started things off with a steal on one end and coasted down the floor for a layup, but was fouled in the process. He made 1 of 2 free throws, giving the Bullpups a 1-0 lead 10 seconds into the game.
It was the only lead the Bullpups had the rest of the game.
Andale scored the next eight points to capture the lead, and led 12-8 by the end of the first quarter. The Indians began the second quarter on an 8-2 run which forced a timeout from Kinnamon.
The Bullpups responded out of the timeout by going on an 11-5 run highlighted by a Pyle dunk. With Andale leading 26-21, Pyle drained a deep, contested 3-pointer as time expired to make it a one possession game heading into halftime.
But Andale did not cool off in the second half. In fact, they shot the ball even better in the final 16 minutes. Compared to 46 percent shooting in the first half, Andale made 63 percent of their shots in the second half, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Still, the scrappy Bullpups were able to hang around, and only trailed by four entering the fourth quarter.
Andale won the fourth quarter, 14-8, and seemed to have an answer for everything the Bullpups threw at them. As Kinnamon noted, Andale is a good team that is 8-1 for a reason. How the Bullpups respond from this will be crucial in how much success this team has come next week.
“Give Andale all the credit, they deserve it,” Kinnamon said. “I told the guys Shawnee Mission East will be just like that. We have an opportunity to play three games in three days and find out a little bit about how tough we can be. It’s a great tournament and certainly we’re looking forward to it.”
Jake Alexander led the Bullpups with 16 points on 7 of 16 shooting. Pyle had 15 points and a team high 8 rebounds.
McPherson takes on Shawnee Mission East in the first round of the McPherson Invitational on Thursday at 8:15 p.m.
Contact Gallagher Martin by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel.