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Shooting woes hurt TMP boys in loss

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

ELLINWOOD -- The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball team did a lot of things well Friday at Ellinwood.

The Monarchs (1-4, 0-1 MCAA) just couldn't make shots, especially down the stretch, and it proved to be their downfall.

TMP lost 61-54 to Ellinwood after missing their last 15 shots in the fourth quarter. The Monarchs shot 20 of 65 for the game.

"The part that bothers me the most was just how many free throws and easy chances we had offensively that we didn't convert," said TMP head coach Joe Hertel. "It wasn't just the one missed layup. We had a lot of inside close shots that we didn't convert."

TMP had two significant lulls in the game. One came near the end of the first quarter when Ellinwood went on a 13-1 run to take a 20-10, and the other came in the fourth quarter when Ellinwood went on a 14-4 run.

TMP had to time to battle back from its first lull but not the second.

"It was a tough one," Hertel said. "We had a chance to win the ball game. We came from way down to give ourselves a chance, so I'm going to have to try to build on that."

The Monarchs struggled to contain Ellinwood senior guard Kyle Blakeslee. He exploded for a season-high 29 points and nine rebounds.

Senior Patrick Ringering added 10 points for Ellinwood (3-3, 1-0 MCAA).

"I had some guys step up and hit some big shots, but at the same time, we had some guys step up and defend," said Ellinwood head coach Dustin Klassen. "I kept telling them the offense stuff will come. I'm not worried about that. We've got to get through screens, communicate and guard their guys, because they are tough."

In his comeback appearance after sitting the beginning of the season with a knee injury, 6-foot-3 senior forward Ryan Mayorga came off the bench and led TMP with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

"I was glad to see Ryan get back and get in the thick of things," Hertel said. "He gave us a lift. I appreciate that. We needed that. We need all the scoring punch we can get."

Sophomore forward Cameron Fouts added eight points, and senior forward Kade Megaffin scored seven while grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds.

TMP struggled in the opening and closing quarters, but the Monarchs outplayed the Eagles in the second and third quarters, outscoring them by four in the second and by seven in the third.

The Monarchs actually led 50-47 with six minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the game, but they didn't make a single shot after that. Their only points came from going 4 of 7 from the foul line in the final seven minutes.

"A really hard-to-get three-point lead was gone like that," Hertel said.

TMP grabbed 52 rebounds to Ellinwood's 39, but the Monarchs just couldn't keep up with the Eagles' offense.

Nearly all of Ellinwood's top players are seasoned upperclassmen.

TMP, which uses a rotation bolstered by sophomores and new-to-varsity upperclassmen, lacks that experience, and Klassen said he thought it gave his team an edge.

"That's a definite advantage," Klassen said. "I've got four seniors that are great players, great kids and great leaders."