Sentinel Brett Esch McPherson

BUHLER, Kansas — The Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson may have been held in September, but on Tuesday night in Buhler, when the Crusaders boys’ basketball team hosted McPherson, the roller coaster rides returned to Reno County.

In a game where the Bullpups led most of the regulation, the sophomore team — playing without their top scorer in Seth Madron — seemed to have an answer for every hit they received from the 4A fourth team.

Cory Muehler led all scorers with 27 points for McPherson (8-9), hitting his signature late-game big shots by knocking down three three-pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime. Mason Miller was compiling a banner night on the boards. Kreighton Kanitz drove to the edge like a veteran with no fear of contact.

All the ingredients were on the table to upset Bullpup, until they weren’t. By the time the final buzzer sounded, McPherson had run out of gas in the extra four minutes and Buhler’s Jack Voth (14-3) had capped a 22-point career night as the Crusaders put the finishing touches at a sweep of the season. of their rival, 68-61.

“Our guys did a really good job,” McPherson head coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “We changed a bit defensively. … And I thought our guys did a really, really good job of that. It was a really good high school basketball game.

Indeed, it was. The physical nature of the rivalry surfaced as soon as the Bullpups quickly jumped out of the gates after a string of poor offensive possessions from Buhler to open the game. And despite the Crusaders’ visible height advantage, McPherson found success on the inside with Kanitz showcasing his flurry to the edge.

On the other end, Buhler all but refused to work indoors, instead sticking to long-range jumpers on more trips than not. Going into the second quarter, the Bullpups were leading 13-5. From there, they worked with an eight to ten point lead thanks in large part to Miller’s offensive rebounding effort.

Then, as if awakened from a coma, the Crusaders went on a 9-1 run in the closing stages of the first half behind five quick points to trigger Grant Ricker’s burst.

The crowd noise was deafening when Buhler tied it at 22, but Owen Pyle quickly silenced the brown and white faithful with a three on the bell. With that, McPherson took a 25-22 lead into the break.

The scoreboard would remain tight for the remainder of regulation as the Crusaders were able to pull back even to 31 midway through the third quarter to counter a blistering start from Miller – which the Bullpups were keen to get the ball through.

McPherson would regain their lead with a quick 6-0 run before Buhler’s spark plug Ricker brought home the third of four threes on the night. Trailing 44-40 to start the fourth quarter, the Crusaders then turned to Voth after a three-point drop from Isaiah Hernandez to tie it at 46 midway through the final frame.

And despite Muehler’s heroism that the Bullpups faithful have seen time and time again this season, despite the resilience of a McPherson team that had four sophomores on the field together at one point, Buhler’s leading scorer has kept its promises.

“In the end, Voth was just too heavy for us,” Kinnamon said. “When we couldn’t get him out or he was able to jump over us… he’s just more physical, bigger and stronger [than us]. He’s a very, very good player. »

This physique led to 13 free throw attempts by Voth in the contest. He made 10, scoring eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Tied 55-55 to start the basketball free period, the Bullpups were outscored 13-6 as the Crusaders took advantage of their double bonus status.

“A lot of times when you’re on the road and the home team gets tight or pushes forward, things fall apart,” Kinnamon said. “And I think our guys did a great job tonight. But, you know, it’s like a loss.

Now McPherson will be back at the Roundhouse on Friday night as he looks to break his five game losing streak. Winfield will be coming to town for the Bullpups’ senior night. Departure is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Bühler 68, McPherson 61

McPherson-13; 12; 19; 11; 6 – 61

Buhler – 5; 17; 18; 15; 13 – 68

M – Muehler 27, Miller 10, Kanitz 9, Pyle 7, Thompson 4, Ediger 3, Feil 1

B – Voth 22, Ricker 17, Meyer 12, Hernandez 11, Eddy 3, Miller 2

BUHLER, Kansas — The ball rolled quickly in the right direction for McPherson (10-7) in a 57-16 rout of Buhler (3-14) on Tuesday night.

Two three-pointers from Ella Schmid, including one with a minute and a half left in the first quarter, would be the difference as the Bullpups captured all the momentum of the game going into the second quarter, leading 12-4.

Things continued to go south for the Crusaders early in the next eight minutes. McPherson opened the quarter on a 7-0 streak as Buhler committed three of his 10 turnovers in the period consecutively.

It was a banner frame for junior Bullpups Chloe Clevenger, as she used a fierce defensive effort to score 10 points in the second quarter and 12 overall in the first half and put the Crusaders on their heels until until the bell rings. McPherson has focused strictly on the movement of the ball so far, carrying a 30-8 halftime lead.

It was more or less the same in the second half as the Bullpups locked in attacking sets and made the extra pass offensively. McPherson activated cruise control to lead 49-13 and set a running clock going into the fourth quarter.

When the buzzer sounded to thankfully end a textbook blowout, the Bullpups were up 10-7 and went undefeated in AVCTL-III play with a 57-16 win.

Next, McPherson will host Winfield on Friday for Senior Night. Tipping is set at 6 p.m.

McPherson 57, Buhler 16

McPherson – 12; 18; 19; 8 – 57

Buhler – 4; 4; 5; 3 – 16

M – Howard 16, Clevenger 16, Labertew 8, Schmid 6, Eilrich 5, Dukes 4

B – Yutzy 6, Taylor 3, Lackey 3, Oard 2, Baxter 2

Brett Esch has been a freelance writer for the McPherson Sentinel since January 2022. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @brettaesch.