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Panthers overpowered by Bullpups balance
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Great Bends Brett Basye shoots a floater in the lane as McPhersons Kyle Smith defends on Tuesday. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Panthers worked hard and competed with intensity.
No. 1 ranked Class 4A McPherson High simply plays basketball on a higher level. The Bullpups overpowered the Panthers 61-33 Tuesday night with an impressive defensive display.
The Bullpups kick started their offense with 21 Great Bend turnovers that fueled an effective fast break. McPherson showed off some fullcourt defense, but got the job done with well-coached halfcourt defense. The Bullpups helped on defense, cut off the driving lanes and attacked the boards.
“Defensively, we were very good,” said McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon. “We got some five-counts guarding the basketball. We did a lot of good things tonight.”
Payton Stephens paced the Bullpups (15-0) with 12 points, highlighted by a pair of slam dunks off perfect passes by Kyler Kinnamon. Kinnamon had 10 points to go with a splendid floor game handling the basketball and directing the Bullpups’ offense. Drew Pyle and Jacob Loecker added seven points apiece.
“We average 18 assists per game, so this is a unselfish team that shares the basketball extremely well,” Kinnamon said.  “These kids don’t care whether they score or dish off an assist.”
McPherson scored six second-chance points in the first half and converted inside baskets off great passes and mid-range field goals.
Great Bend coach Chris Battin saw a fundamentally sound defensive team disrupt his team’s offense. The Panthers shot the ball decently the first half, but 15 turnovers were too much to overcome in a 32-12 deficit.
“Too many first-half turnovers against a great basketball team,” Battin said. “They are quick and fast. You can see why they are a No. 1 ranked team. They are an athletic basketball team that does a tremendous job defensively. We can’t allow teams to push us out of our offense like that. We’ve got to stay in our offense and set better screens.”
Great Bend’s Shade Wondra played his typical hustling game with 11 points and several floor burns along the way. Cody Crosby rallied from a slow start for 10 points by attacking the basket. The Panthers shot 30 percent from the field.
“We really competed the second half, and the second quarter,” Battin said. “Shade Wondra stepped up offensively to help us when some shots were not falling. McPherson is an awfully good basketball team.”
McPherson broke a school record with its 30th consecutive basketball victory. The Bullpups have won 12 Kansas high school state basketball titles.

Non league
McPherson    14 18 14 15  — 61
Great Bend    7   5  11 10  — 33
McPherson — Stephens 6-13 0-0 12; Kinnamon 5-7 0-1 10; Drew Pyle 3-8 0-0 7; Wine 2-3 1-2 5; Nutter 3-5 0-0 6; Gabel 0-1 3-4 4; Ben Pyle 0-4 0-0 0; McDaniel 1-3 4-6 7;  Alexander 0-1 0-0 0; Loecker 3-4 1-2 7; Reed 0-1 0-0 0; Smith 1-1 0-0 2; Spaich 1-2 0-0 2; Totals 25-53 9-15 61.
Great Bend —Wondra 3-10 2-2 11; Crosby 3-9 4-6 10; Ibarra 1-3 0-0 3; Sullivan 1-4 0-2 3; Smith 1-1 0-0 2; Murray 0-2 0-1 0; Bryant 1-2 2-3 4; Basye 0-1 0-0 0; Ireland 0-1 0-0 0; Kelly Titus 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 10-34 8-14 33.