McPherson 59, Wichita Heights 50
Fouls do not exist in the paint in a McPherson practice.
If you get hacked, you finish anyway, because there are no free throws coming. At 6-foot-4, Keaton Sorenson has the build to take the blows. He is used to defensive backs launching themselves at him on the gridiron, anyway, so Wichita Heights' bruisers fit right into the wide receiver's repertoire.
“I love it when it gets like that,” Sorenson said. “I love it when they do cheap shots, then you go right back at them and get the and-one. It's a good feeling.”
Sorenson worked tirelessly inside, posting 14 points and 16 rebounds as McPherson earned a 59-50 win over the Falcons.
McPherson sputtered early in the second quarter. Heights erased a three-point deficit with a 10-2 spurt to go up 21-16. The Bullpups flattened the momentum with a well-placed timeout. They rallied for a two-point edge at halftime, then opened the game up with a 17-6 swing in the third quarter.
“It was the game. Obviously we never recovered from that. That's on me. I've got to do a better job of getting them reined in in that particular situation,” said Heights coach Joe Auer. “When you have a young team, a lot of times you don't know what buttons to push until you experience it.”
Heights surged back late. A 3-pointer from Chris Lowe and a runner from Semaj Harvey brought the deficit to 50-45 with 2:30 to go.
The Falcons twice got within four down the home stretch, but ran out of time.
“There were just a couple of moments where we lost our way, and when we did, they punished us,” Auer said. “We finally got it back, but it was too late.”
Ealy Bell and Harvey led Heights with 14 points each. Kyler Kinnamon led all scorers with 19 for McPherson. Peter Horton (12) and Marcus Houghton (11) joined Kinnamon and Sorenson in double figures.
The Bullpups will face Shawnee Mission East for the McPherson Invitational tourney title Saturday. McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon said his team may be settling in to a rhythm, but will find out for sure against a stiff test from Shawnee Mission East.
“They need to find themselves. I've thought all along that they have a chance to be really good,” Kurt said. “Maybe they're starting to believe.”
Shawnee Mission East 48, Blue Valley West 36
Shawnee Mission East sealed its date in the McPherson Invitational finals with a powerful second quarter.
The Lancers outscored Blue Valley West 15-8 in the second quarter after falling behind 10-7. Shawnee Mission East went on to a 48-36 victory.
Vance Wentz pumped in 19 points and Zach Schneider added 16 to lead the Lancers. Joey Lillis scored 11 for Blue Valley West.
Lawrence Free State 42, Hutchinson 40
Hutchinson had an opportunity for the win, but fell short in a 42-40 loss to Lawrence Free State.
Junior Kahdre Lane scored 11 points to lead Free State. The Firebirds will face Manhattan in the fifth place game.
Trevor Turner had 14 points for Hutchinson. The Salthawks will see a familiar foe in the seventh place game, taking on fellow Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I member Maize.
Manhattan 49, Maize 39
Manhattan forced Maize into 20 turnovers to salvage a shot at fifth place.
The Indians had four players score eight or more points, led by Johnathon Taylor's 12. Connor Lungwitz had 13 for Maize.