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Scott City rolls past Monarchs

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

SCOTT CITY -- The Scott City High School boys' basketball team is the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A, and it wasn't difficult to see why Friday.

The Beavers, back-to-back 3A state champions, defeated Thomas More Prep-Marian 84-53 at Scott City in a game where the Monarchs actually played pretty well.

Scott City improved to 15-1 while TMP dropped to 6-10.

TMP shot well from the free throw line and was close to its season average in nearly every statistic, despite facing Scott City's superior length.

"This type of game ... exposes your character," said TMP head coach Joe Hertel. "You find out if you have character or if you want to quit and run or whatever. I'm happy to tell you my guys were the former. They battled hard and continued to fight even though we were out of the game pretty early."

All but one of the Beavers' regular varsity players stood 6-feet tall or taller, and it showed on the rebounding differential with Scott City posting 42 rebounds to TMP's 25.

"They've got some specimens," Hertel said. "They've got quickness. They've got size. They've got strength. They've got power. They can shoot it inside, and they can shoot it outside. What a lethal -- that's not even a combination -- that's a kaleidoscope of skill. They are going to be difficult to beat anywhere in 3A."

Four Beavers finished in double figures.

Scott City's 6-foot-4 senior center Drew Kite led the way with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Kite made 10 of 13 shots and 9 of 12 free throws.

"Drew played well," said Scott City head coach Glenn O'Neil. "He's tough on the inside. He's a handful for people."

Sophomore guard Trey O'Neil added 19 points, and senior forward Joey Meyer and senior guard Brett O'Neil contributed 16 and 11 points, respectively.

"These guys have played together a long time," O'Neil said. "They have basically been a majority of the varsity the last three years. ... They are confident in each other, and they trust each other. I think that's the key."

Sophomore forward Cameron Fouts, despite giving up several inches to Scott City's forwards, led TMP in scoring with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 6-of-6 finish at the foul line.

Senior forward Anthony Walters also reached double figures, scoring 10 points, and senior point guard Shane Zimmerman, junior forward Ryan Mayorga and junior forward Jordan Gottschalk each finished with seven points.

"I thought we played hard," Hertel said. "That was my mantra for the last two days. Yeah, I'll admit, on paper, we were probably outclassed, and to be honest, we were. But I still say the depth of a man's character lies in his heart, and my guys played with heart tonight."

Scott City dominated the first half.

The Beavers attacked the paint and beat the Monarchs up and down the court on fast breaks late in the first and early in the second quarter. In the final 10 and a half minutes of the first half, Scott City made 12 of 19 shots and led 43-21 at halftime.

TMP kept up with Scott City in the second half despite facing Beaver starters for all of the third quarter and some of the fourth.

The Monarchs only got outscored by four in the third quarter. TMP had just two turnovers in the quarter and made 8 of 15 shots.

"I don't know if we ever made a run, closed the gap or anything like that, but we did battle hard and I'm proud of the kids for that," Hertel said.

The Monarchs will travel to Hoisington (14-3, 4-0 MCAA) on Tuesday. TMP lost to the Cardinals 73-60 on Jan. 24 at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.

TMP has lost six straight to the Cardinals with its last win Feb. 24, 2004.

"We haven't beaten Hoisington in a long time, and I just think it's time," Hertel said.