Varsity Kansas

McPherson beats Heights, advances to final

Sometimes lost in McPherson’s success is the fact that it is replacing all five starters from its state tournament team last season.

Despite their one-loss record, the Bullpups still deal with the inconsistencies that stem from inexperience. McPherson leans heavily on its five new starters and they all have their own issues, but they seem to be putting to rest many of them this week at the McPherson Invitational.

Another step was taken in Friday night’s 59-50 victory over Heights in the Roundhouse, as the Bullpups (10-1) advanced to the championship game against undefeated Shawnee Mission East. Heights will play Blue Valley West for third at 5:30 p.m.

“I think they’re beginning to find themselves,” coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “I’ve thought all along that they have a chance to be really good, but it’s getting them to believe that.”

Kinnamon saw the confidence grow before his eyes when his sophomore son, Kyler, who he wanted shooting late-game free throws, assured him that senior Marcus Houghton was the right player to shoot them.

“I knew Marcus would make them late because he’s pretty clutch,” Kyler Kinnamon said.

Houghton drained 4 of 6 in the final two minutes to help seal victory. The confidence once lost was restored when Houghton heard his teammate take a stand for him.

“It just really lifts you up when you hear that,” Houghton said. “I was just pretty focused tonight and really wanted to make them.”

McPherson outscored Heights 30-8 in a 10-minute stretch to build a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, but desperately needed Houghton’s free throws after turning tentative trying to protect its lead.

Heights (6-4) had won five games in a row, but coach Joe Auer said the Falcons played their best game of the season in defeat. The Falcons cut the deficit to four points with 1:52 remaining, but never drew closer.

“You can’t play this program on their home floor and take a couple possessions off, which is what we did,” Auer said. “Once we did that, they sensed it and went for the jugular.”

Peter Horton (three three-pointers), Keaton Sorenson (14 points, 16 rebounds) and Kyler Kinnamon (19 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) played as confidently as they had all season. Kinnamon played so well he even received a compliment from the coach at halftime.

“He must have done something really good to do that,” Kurt Kinnamon said with a wry grin.

The Bullpups are still in the process of finding their identity, but they’re beginning to see it take form.

“It really does feel like everything is starting to come together for us,” Sorenson said.

Manhattan 49, Maize 39 — The Eagles could never shake their offensive woes, as they finished the game shooting 27 percent with 20 turnovers.

“We were out there holding and dribbling it, thinking everybody was there to watch us dribble,” Maize coach Chris Davis said. “To be good offensively, you have to move the ball and I thought we did a better job of that in the fourth quarter.”

Maize was led by Connor Lungwitz with 13 points and six rebounds, while Aaron Shaw added seven points and seven rebounds off the bench. The Eagles (2-8) will play Hutchinson for seventh place on Saturday.

Lawrence Free State 42, Hutchinson 40 — The Salthawks shot 29 percent and still had a shot to win at the end. Instead the three-pointer from Braydon Wells missed its mark and Hutchinson (4-7) lost its fifth game and second in as many days by single-digits.

Trevor Turner led Hutchinson with 14 points, while Khadre Lane led Free State with 11 points. Free State will play Manhattan for fifth place on Saturday.

McPherson 59, Heights 50

Heights 11 14 6 19 50
McPherson 14 13 17 15 59

HEIGHTS: Lowe 3 0-0 7, Hervey 4 4-4 14, Reed 3 1-3 8, Bell 7 0-1 14, C. Ellis 2 0-2 4, Williams 0 0-0 0, Moreland 0 0-0 0, Wilbeck 1 0-1 2, Arnold 0 1-2 1, B. Ellis 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 (4) 6-11 50.

McPHERSON: Kinnamon 5 7-8 19, Houghton 3 4-6 11, R. Horton 1 0-0 3, P. Horton 4 1-1 12, Sorenson 5 4-8 14, Stos 0 0-0 0, Bahr 0 0-2 0, Nutter 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 (7) 16-25 59.

Manhattan 49, Maize 39

Manhattan 9 15 14 11 49
Maize 13 6 11 9 39

MANHATTAN: Taylor 12, Stitt 8, Holloway 3, Hudgins 9, Stephens 8, Saville 2, Fehr 5, Henry 0, Taylor 1, Dimel 1, McAtee 0. Totals 17 (3) 12-21 49.

MAIZE: Morrow 4, Wilcox 4, Eleeson 6, Lungwitz 13, Luebbe 0, Horsch 3, Stewart 0, Holmes 0, Shaw 7, Engler 2. Totals 10 (3) 16-20 39.

Lawrence Free State 42, Hutchinson 40

Hutchinson 7 10 11 12 40
Free State 8 11 16 7 42

HUTCHINSON: Higgins 7, Wells 0, T. Turner 14, C. Turner 4, Dower 4, Arnold 0, Parra 5, Slaton 2, Grissom-Gaines 0, Flores 0, Ackley 4. Totals 11 (2) 16-24 40.

FREE STATE: Loneker 3, Caro 2, Lane 11, Moreano 9, Bannister 2, Winslow 2, We. Hack 2, Scott 9, McFarland 2, Anavberokhai 0, Heller 0. Totals 16 (4) 6-13 42.

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