By JIM MISUNAS
12:04 AM CST, January 30, 2013
Andale basketball coach Jeff Buchanan knew playing at McPherson High’s Roundhouse would be the Indians’ toughest test of the season. The experience exceeded Buchanan’s expectation.
Fifth-ranked McPherson held off third-ranked Andale 64-57 in a high-intensity showdown in overtime Tuesday. The Bullpups converted 10 free throws in the extra period after Marcus Houghton’s basket started the extra period.
McPherson scored seven consecutive points for a 59-52 lead as Andale committed three turnovers to start overtime. McPherson converted 18 Andale turnovers into 26 transition points. Kyler Kinnamon made seven free throws in overtime.
“I was very proud of the guys because they showed some toughness to beat an excellent Andale team,” said McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon. “Marcus Houghton did a terrific defensive job on Andale’s Ben Seiler. The combined offensive effort of Keaton Sorenson and Kyle Bahr helped win us that ballgame.”
Keaton Sorenson scored a game high 24 points and supersub Alex Bahr hustled for seven points off the bench to rescue McPherson. The Bullpups outscored Andale 16-5 from the free throw line and survived despite getting outscored 36-6 on 3-pointers.
McPherson (12-2) was outsized by Andale, but it was the Bullpups that attacked the basket with drives and interior passing. Point guard Kyler Kinnamon had five assists and 13 points.
The victory helped the Bullpups erase the memory of a stunning 45-44 upset against Circle, which had won two games.
“We got back to playing basketball how we play,” Kinnamon said. “This will be the last time I talk about Circle.”
Andale’s Hunter Knoblauch forced overtime at 52 after a driving bank shot that ended regulation. McPherson’s Keaton Sorenson sank the Bullpups’ final shot in regulation despite defense by Jason Hermreck. Andale missed a chance for the lead when Hunter Knoblauch and Bo Knoblauch each made one of two free throws in the final two minutes.
Andale (12-2) had a 12-game winning snapped despite making a season high 12 3-pointers to outscore the Bullpups 36-6 from long range.
“We knew this would be our toughest game of the season, and we had our chances to win,” said Buchanan. “The way we ended the second quarter it what really hurt us. McPherson is so quick, that they take advantage of every mistake you make.”
Andale was dictating the game and led 19-14 when McPherson ended the half on a 13-2 run behind 10 points off turnovers. The Bullpups scored 26 points off turnovers.
McPherson appeared on the verge of putting the game away with a 29-21 second half lead, but Seiler brought Andale back with a pair of 3-pointers and 10 points in the third quarter. Bo Knoblauch drilled back-to-back 3-pointers when Houghton drew a foul away from the ball for a shocking 40-38 Andale lead.
“What I liked is the guys did a great job battling back and showed great poise,” Buchanan said. “They gave us a shot to win. We’ll learn from this. We need to limit our turnovers and make a few more free throws.”
The final quarter went back and forth with McPherson opening a 50-45 lead. But Hermreck nailed a 3-pointer and two free throws tied it at 50 with 47 seconds left in regulation time.
Coach Kinnamon said he never remembers getting outscored by 30 points from long range, let alone giving up a dozen 3-pointers. Andale converted 12 of 29 3-pointers, 41 percent. As many as half of the 3-pointers came when McPherson tried zone defense.
“It seemed like every time we played zone, they hit a shot and that’s why I don’t like playing zone,” Kinnamon said. “You always take the chance of giving up wide-open 3s. Seiler found an opening a couple of times.”
Buchanan said McPherson’s defense was collapsing inside and the 3-point shot was available. The Indians average about seven successful 3-pointers per game.
“McPherson’s defense was clogging up the middle,” he said. “We’ve obviously got some players who can shoot the 3-pointer.”
Buchanan said the Indians showed they are a state-competitive team. Andale sports the top record in the Pratt 4A substate and will be heavy favorites to qualify for 4A state tournament at Salina.
“I have confidence that Andale will have a great chance to get to the state tournament,” Kinnamon said. “They showed they can shoot the basketball. I was concerned about their size and strength inside. They’ve also shown the ability to score inside.”
McPherson faces a much tougher substate at Abilene, which features Hesston, Abilene and Concordia.
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