With his 16th season of coaching boys basketball at McPherson
in its infancy, Kurt Kinnamon still gets goose bumps when he leads the Bullpups onto the basketball court at the school's infamous "Roundhouse" basketball auditorium.
Each time he and the Bullpups make their way down the stairs, through the tunnel and onto the floor, Kinnamon experiences the typical rush as if it were for the first time.
"You have to see it to believe it," Kinnamon said of the round building responsible for holding many of the 960 victories that McPherson has claimed over the course of the last 54 seasons. "The sea of red. It's an electric atmosphere. To hear that crowd…the same song. It's electric. When I don't get goose bumps anymore, I'll know it's time to move on."
Kinnamon carved out a piece of Bullpup history last week when his squad upended Andover 80-64 on the road to claim his 300th win at McPherson. The top-ranked Bullpups, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, then edged Andover Central 59-56 to run his record at the school to 301-59 and improve to 5-0 this season.
Kinnamon had some immense shoes to fill when he took over the reins of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail program in time for the 1995-96 season, replacing Mike Henson and his 250-34 record over 12 seasons. Henson took over for the legendary Jay Frazier in 1983-84. Frazier won 409 games from 1957-83.
During that collective time frame, Henson won four Kansas Class 5A state championships, while Frazier and Kinnamon pulled in three titles each.
"The players make the coach," Kinnamon said of all of the success he's had over the years. "I've been fortunate to have a lot of great players come through here. It's been a tremendous opportunity to coach here. I think it speaks volumes that over the last 50 years we've only had three coaches. The young people here aspire to be Bullpups…the fan support is second to none."
For Kinnamon, who admits that most fans would describe their coach as a hollerer, coaching is a natural extension of teaching and an opportunity for him to unleash his competitive side.
"I am very demanding," he said. "But they (players) know that I have their best interest at heart. They know that we don't take nights off here. The kids play hard. To see my competitive side rub off on these kids makes me proud."
A year ago, Kinnamon's Bullpups fell short of winning another Class 5A state title when they suffered a 49-45 overtime loss to eventual state runnerup Topeka West in the semifinals. McPherson had to settle for fourth place after falling to Gardner-Edgerton 66-54 in the consolation game.
But Kinnamon returns more than enough talent to challenge for the title in 2010-11. For starters, McPherson returns seniors Jack Pyle
and Christian Ulsaker
who average 23.4 and 20.6 points a game this season respectively. Junior Jordan Hart
adds 10.6 points a game. Seven other players earned some playing time a year ago.
Kinnamon compared this group of Bullpups to the teams he's had in the past.
"I think that you have to have a bunch of players that care more for the name on the front of the jersey than the name on the back," Kinnamon said. "Fortunately I've had that type of player here. This is a very hungry bunch. They have high expectations for themselves."
Kinnamon, who is 165-25 at the Roundhouse, began his head coaching career at Canton-Galva where he compiled a 25-16 mark over two seasons. He is 326-75 overall as a head coach.LAST WEEK'S HYVEE SHOOTOUT
Last week was a good week if you reside on the Kansas side of the state line, at least as far as the HyVee Shootout basketball series is concerned. Beginning Wednesday and running through Saturday, Avila University was home to 21 high school boys and girls basketball games pitting a Kansas school against a counterpart from Missouri. Of the 14 boys and 7 girls basketball games, Kansas was on the winning side 15 times.
Below is a look at all of the scores from the 2010 series, as well as the boys and girls leading scorers.BOYS SCORES
Shawnee Mission North (Ks.) 68, Liberty North (Mo.) 41
Liberty (Mo.) 68, Shawnee Mission West (KS.) 47
Maize (Ks.) 63, Grandview (Mo.) 41
Columbia-Rock Bridge (Mo.) 56, Blue Valley West (Ks.) 43
Lee's Summit North (Mo.) 64, Topeka Hayden (Ks.) 62
Wichita Heights (Ks.) 86, Nixa (Mo.) 69
Sumner Academy (Ks.) 50, Raytown South (Mo.) 48
Kearney (Mo.) 48, Bishop Miege (Ks.) 46
Shawnee Mission East (Ks.) 58, Lee's Summit (Mo.) 51
Ruskin (Mo.) 53, Shawnee Mission Northwest (Ks.) 39
St. James Academy (Ks.) 59, Raytown (Mo.) 47
Kansas City-Harmon (Ks.) 53, Lee's Summit West (Mo.) 50
O'Hara (Mo.) 62, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ks.) 53
Blue Valley Northwest (Ks.) 66, Rockhurst (Mo.) 50GIRLS SCORES
Wichita Heights (Ks.) 81, Webb City (Mo.) 61
Bishop Miege (Ks.) 49, O'Hara (Mo.) 30
St. Thomas Aquinas (Ks.) 59, Blue Springs (Mo.) 49
Blue Valley North (Ks.) 53, Lee's Summit (Mo.) 34
Olathe East (Ks.) 67, Ruskin (Mo.) 16
Olathe Northwest (Ks.) 58, St. Teresa's (Mo.) 35
Shawnee Mission West (Ks.) 70, Platte County (Mo.) 46 HYVEE SHOOTOUT BOYS LEADING SCORERSVance Wentz
of Shawnee Mission East scored 24 points in a 58-51 win over Lee's Summit (Mo.)…Lee's Summit's (Mo.) Sam Sealer ripped the cords for 23 points in a 58-51 loss to Shawnee Mission East (Ks.)…Perry Ellis
of Wichita Heights scorched the nets for 23 points in an 86-69 win over Nixa (Mo.)…Liberty's (Mo.) Denton Koon scored 22 points in a 68-47 win over Shawnee Mission West…Curtis Okafor of Bishop Miege ripped the cords for 21 points in a 48-46 loss to Kearney (Mo.)…Shawnee Mission Northwest's A.J. Spencer
scorched the nets for 21 points in a 53-39 loss to Ruskin (Mo.)…Clint McCullough
of St. James Academy scored 21 points in a 59-47 win over Raytown (Mo.)…Nixa's (Mo.) Jalen Norman ripped the cords for 21 points in an 86-69 loss to Wichita Heights…Ishmail Wainwright of Raytown South (Mo.) scorched the nets for 21 points in a 50-48 loss to Kansas City-Sumner Academy…Blue Valley Northwest's Garrett Fugate
scored 20 points in a 66-50 win over Rockhurst (Mo.)…Terrence Moore
of Wichita Heights ripped the cords for 19 points in an 86-69 win over Nixa (Mo.)…O'Hara's (Mo.) D.J. Jackson scorched the nets for 19 points in a 62-53 win over St. Thomas Aquinas (Ks.).HYVEE SHOOTOUT GIRLS LEADING SCORERS
Kaitlin Jaeger of Webb City (Mo.) scored 32 points in an 81-61 loss to Wichita Heights…Wichita Heights' Mary Sims
ripped the cords for 26 points in an 81-61 win over Webb City (Mo.)…Maggie Harrison of St. Thomas Aquinas scorched the nets for 24 points in a 59-49 win over Blue Springs (Mo.)…Shawnee Mission West's Brooke Katterhenry
scored 24 points in a 70-46 win over Platte County…Jhasmin Bowen
of Wichita Heights ripped the cords for 22 points in an 81-61 win over Webb City (Mo.)…Olathe Northwest's Jaylah Jackson scorched the nets for 21 points in a 58-35 win over St. Teresa's (Mo.)…Taylor Johnson of Platte County (Mo.) scored 21 points in a 70-46 loss to Shawnee Mission West…Platte County's (Mo.) Kelsey Knox ripped the cords for 16 points in a 70-46 loss to Shawnee Mission West…Erin Boxberger of Blue Valley North scorched the nets for 15 points in a 53-34 win over Lee's Summit (Mo.)…Blue Springs' (Mo.) Jamesia Price scored 14 points in a 59-49 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas…Tyonna Snow of Blue Springs (Mo.) ripped the cords for 14 points in a 59-49 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas…Shawnee Mission West's Lizzy Jeronimus scorched the nets for 14 points in a 70-46 win over Platte County (Mo.).