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Big third quarter lifts TMP boys past Victoria

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball coach Joe Hertel set five goals for his team coming into Friday's game against Victoria High School at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

At the top of that list was for his team to play fast and aggressive on offense, and after two quarters the Monarchs simply weren't getting it done.

"Our biggest coaching point -- a New Year's resolution so to speak -- would be to be ultra aggressive offensively," Hertel said.

"And I felt like in the first half we were a little bit passive. But that changed the second half and it was probably the difference in the ball game."

TMP (3-3) exploded with 21 points in the third quarter after scoring only 23 in the first half and ran away from Victoria (4-2), ranked No. 8 in Class 1A Division I, 59-39. It was the first game for either team since the holiday break.

"I judge our success by who we beat, not how many we win," Hertel said.

"I felt like a win, in this game, on basically a neutral court, could really go a long way to validate us as a club."

The teams were tied at 11 after a quarter and TMP held a 23-18 lead at halftime. While the Monarchs' offense did finally come alive in the second half, both coaches agreed it was TMP's defense that made the difference.

"I thought TMP did a great job, all night really, of taking away what we liked to do, and we didn't respond well to that," Victoria coach Stu Moeckel said. "We didn't attack the rim like we needed to do. We got a couple of charges that slowed us down a little bit.

"And defensively, we lost contain on our man and they knocked down some big shots in that third quarter. It was tight to that point and they pulled away."

Victoria scored the first five points of the third quarter to tie the game at 23 before TMP, sparked by a Max Megaffin 3-pointer, went on a 21-4 run to end the quarter. TMP hit four 3s in the game -- all coming in the third quarter -- with two coming from Megaffin and two more coming from sophomore Jared Vitztum.

Megaffin scored 10 of his season- and game-high 20 points in the third quarter.

"I have to tip my hat to Max Megaffin," Hertel said. "He owned this basketball game on both ends of the floor. Gave us scoring when everyone else was struggling and allowed us to have a lead at half when in fact the majority of my scorers hadn't really come out yet."

Victoria was led by junior Bryan Dome's 17 points, the only player in double figures for the Knights. Jordan Gottschalk added 10 for TMP.

The Monarchs will jump into conference play on Tuesday with a trip to Larned, while Victoria will host Plainville.