Andale’s boys basketball team provided convincing proof Friday night that even though the faces might change, the talent level remains unchanged.
The Indians (8-1, 5-1) hit 9 of 17 three-pointers and held a tough McPherson team to 38-percent shooting, leading all the way in taking a 53-43 victory.
Amazingly, no seniors played for either team, so what was seen on the court will be many of the top players for at least a year or two.
“We lost a lot of good talent from last year,” Andale coach Jeff Buchanan said. “We had injuries already this year, losing our starting point guard. Our only senior (Cameron Cothran) is in a boot with a stress fracture.
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“That’s how we’ve kind of approached things since last year ended. The game’s bigger than you, make sure you leave it better than when you got it. A credit to last year’s seniors: They left it in a good position, and these guys worked their tails off all summer, all off season, and for the practices we’ve had this year, we’ve had guys getting after it.”
Andale lost point guard Zach Meyer to a football ACL injury before the season began. But the Indians were able to plug in freshman Easton Hunter and junior Brody Jobbins.
“I felt pretty comfortable with my teammates getting me open and getting me the ball,” Hunter said. “Brody was hitting; he was on fire, too. When I stopped hitting, I started heading it to him.”
They combined for all of Andale’s three-pointers and 33 points. As a team, Andale hit 53 percent from the field and 53 percent from behind the arc.
“We tell every year, we don’t care what grade you’re in, when you put on the jersey, you go out and you play the Andale way,” Buchanan said. “They play the Andale way: The defense is tough, they take care of the ball and value every possession.
“McPherson is going to force you into some adversity, but it was nice to see the guys step up and play their tails off.”
McPherson (6-4, 5-1) was led by sophomore Jake Alexander’s 16 points and 6-7 junior Ben Pyle’s 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Bullpups put a jolt into Andale at halftime, when Pyle’s three-pointer as the buzzer sounded pulled McPherson to within 26-24 at the break.
“It was looking pretty bleak, and then that went in, we had a little momentum going in,” Bullpups coach Kurt Kinnamon said.
Buchanan said he knew his team had more work to do.
“You’re never out of the woods with them, especially at the Roundhouse,” Buchanan said. “This is a great, historical place for the game of basketball. A lot of great teams, a lot of great individuals have played here.”
Andale had the ball to begin the third quarter, but committed two turnovers in the first 30 seconds.
“They turned it over the first 2-3 times to start the second half, and we thought we were going, but we didn’t get the ball to go in the basket,” Kinnamon said.
The scoring drought was finally broken when Mason Fairchild’s rebound and stickback gave the Indians a 28-24 lead. The Bullpups were never closer than four points the rest of the way.
Kinnamon said his team just had an off night.
“They’re good shooters, but sometimes that basket gets smaller when you miss a couple,” he said. “That happened (Friday night. When that happens, you have to be able to score easy baskets, you have to be able to score inside, and their matchup zone kept us from being able to do that.
“It’s just one of those nights, and you’ve got to find ways to get easy shots, whether it’s going to the offensive glass. We had 11 offensive rebounds, so you ought to be able to score some of those.”
Andale 12 14 13 14 – 53
McPherson 8 16 11 8 – 43
Andale – Hunter 17, Jobbins 16, M. Fairchild 6, Carney 5, Bruce 4, G. Fairchild 3, Albers 2.
McPherson – Jake Alexander 16, Pyle 15, M. Alexander 5, Diggs 4, Jayse Alexander 3.