There should be no doubt now about the legitimacy of Andover Central’s No. 1 Class 5A state ranking, if there was really any to begin with.
The Jaguars proved without a shadow of a doubt they’re the real deal with a 58-43 handling of McPherson High Tuesday at the fabled Roundhouse, completing a rare season sweep of the current 5A champs, who after this game probably are glad that for this year they’re in Class 4A.
The Jags are now 18-0 and with 5A experiencing a down year with few quality teams, the state title may be theirs to lose. They have all the ingredients to perhaps go through 25 games unscathed, as they’re talented, savvy and most of all, difficult to score on.
“They’re a very good basketball team,” said MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, who pulled every rabbit out of the hat he had. “Give them a lot of credit, no doubt about it. Jesse (Herrmann, Andover Central ‘s coach) has a really nice squad.”
The game perhaps turned when MHS’ Cody Cape, who had staked the Bullpups to a 17-11 first-quarter lead with 11 points, suffered a cut to top of his head in the opening moments of the second quarter. By the time he returned, the Jags had flipped the game for a 26-23 halftime lead.
“We were able to make some shots early. We did a good job of attacking the basket,” Kinnamon said. “And we really had a good flow. It (Cape’s injury) kind of hurt some momentum we had, because he was playing well at time.”
Then Central’s 6-foot-11 Jorden Kaufman, operating with a 10-inch height advantage, went to work with 10 points, displaying a soft touch around the basket. With a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer by Nick
Gazda, the lead swelled to 47-33. MHS battled, but it was simply a case of it not seeing the forest through the trees, as the Jags’ length on defense altered many Bullpup shots, and sent them to a second straight loss, a rarity in the Kinnamon era.
Cape finished with 13 points and Jordan Hart scored 10, but MHS was just 18 of 45 and missed all nine of its 3-pointers, which has been a problem much of the year. Kaufman, the Oral Roberts signee, led all scorers with 18 and Cole Kretchmar supplied 10.
The Bullpups are now 13-4 overall and 6-3 in Division II after entering the year 50-0 over the last five years.
MHS (43) -- Miller 3 0-0 6; Kinnamon 2 0-1 4; Hart 5 0-0 10; Robinson 3 2-2 8; Cape 5 3-4 13; Sorenson 0 2-2 2. Totals - 18 7-9 43. 3-pointers - None.
Andover Central (58) -- Clements 4 0-1 8; Koenigs 3 0-0 6; Winter 3 2-2 9; Kretchmar 3 2-2 11; Gazda 2 0-0 6; Kaufman 7 4-6 18. Totals - 22 8-11 58. 3-pointers -- Kretchmar 3, Gazda 2, Winter 1.
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