McPherson didn’t waste any time establishing superiority in Friday’s game, using back-door layups and other close shots for a 29-8 lead after one period.
The Bullpups (8-0, 5-0), top-ranked by the Coaches’ Association in Class 4A-Division I, kept their foot on the accelerator, adding eight three-pointers and cruising to a 76-41 AV-CTL Division III victory over El Dorado.
“I’ve been surprised how well we’ve played early,” McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon said. “Now, you can’t be satisfied … just continue to get better.”
He said the game provided a valuable tuneup for his team’s midseason tournament, which begins Thursday with a game against North.
“We’re going to get a shot at three (Class) 6A schools in our tournament next week, starting with North, which is no easy task,” Kinnamon said. “So those types of games make you better.”
Sophomore Drew Pyle led three Bullpups in double figures with 22 points, including four three-pointers. He also benefited on the back-door plays and assisted on a couple more.
After El Dorado scored the first basket, McPherson went on a 17-0 run, and the Wildcats (4-3, 2-3) didn’t score again until Wes Haines’ free throw with 3:16 left in the quarter.
Kinnamon said he was pleased by the way his team adapted to El Dorado’s home crowd.
“You come in here, and they have a nice crowd and a lot of nice pieces, and I thought the kids were focused pretty well from the start,” he said.
Pyle scored 13 of his points in the opening quarter.
“He’s a very good shooter, and I don’t know what the assist totals are going to be, but we had a lot of assists on baskets,” Kinnamon said. “This team really passes the ball.”
The back-door baskets were a product of the Bullpups seeing the floor, Kinnamon said.
“If you’re overplayed, back them,” he said. “These guys do a good job of that.
“Any time you play hard and you play well, you’re going to be satisfied. (Friday night) was one of those where you’re satisfied with the kids’ effort. I think that chemistry is such a key to this group that we have. As long as that continues, we’re going to be a tough out.”
El Dorado suffered another frustrating loss and is still in search of its first home victory this season. All of the Wildcats’ four triumphs have been on the road.
“We knew they were going to be good defensively,” El Dorado coach Gary Melcher said. “I think they’re better than they were last year — especially defensively.”
Second-chance points also were devastating, he said.
“I’ll bet that half of their points in the first period were off of rebounds,” Melcher said.
McPHERSON: Pyle 22, Kinnamon 9, R. Horton 11, P. Horton 7, Nutter 14, McDaniel 5, Gabel 4, Wine 3, Barrett 1.
EL DORADO: Haines 4, House 8, A. Hildreth 6, Haury 18, Johnson 2, McAdoo 2, D. Hildreth 1.