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Despite illness, Monarch girls pull away for win

By TYLER PARKS

sports@dailynews.net

LARNED -- Despite battling illness this week, the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team was able to capture a win Tuesday night.

Two players didn't make the trip to Marvin Webster Court, but the Monarchs were able to pull away for a 52-37 victory, completing a season sweep of the Indians. TMP moved to 4-11, 3-2 in MCAA play, while Larned fell to 3-13.

Senior Heather Ruder played sick, but managed to put together a solid game defensively.

"She may not have scored as many points tonight, but defensively, she did a nice job," TMP head coach Rose McFarland said of Ruder after.

Ruder, despite the illness, finished with four steals and seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Ruder, as usual, played most of the game, coming out just long enough to catch her breath.

"Heather told me when I would take her out that she was dizzy, but wanted to go back in." McFarland said, "So we put her back in and she played an excellent game."

"She just didn't look for her shot as much, so tonight somebody else picked up the slack offensively," the coach added.

Somebody else did pick up the slack for the Monarchs. Freshman guard Melissa Pfeifer finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting and was 4 of 8 from the 3-point line.

"In practice I have been working on my shot a lot trying to get more confident," Pfeifer said. "Tonight I shot more and they were falling for me."

Seven players scored for TMP, Pfeifer the only one in double figures.

"We had a short bench and had to work with what we had," Pfeifer said. "I thought we did well considering."

In a low-scoring first half, the Monarchs trailed by one after the first quarter, had six turnovers and made just four shots before the break.

"I didn't feel like we were moving to the ball as well as we should," McFarland said. "Our passes were lazy, lob passes instead of crisp passes."

A strong defensive effort by TMP kept the Indians from taking over the game in the second quarter.

"I thought overall our team really played pretty good on defense," McFarland said. "We created a lot of turnovers and did good in that regard."

The Indians kept with the Monarchs for the first half, trailing by one at the intermission 21-20.

"I didn't feel like we got off to a really good start. They were fired up, they were hustling and beating us to loose balls," McFarland said. "We just working things as well as we could have."

TMP, led by two Pfeifer 3s stretched the lead to five in the third.

"With Melissa, it is a matter of confidence," McFarland said. "She is a good shooter out there, we have been working with her on the three and she was able to get some good looks and that really put some distance between us and Larned when she was able to knock them down."

However, two late 3s by Larned junior Tiara Diaz put the Indians within one at the end of the third.

Diaz finished with a team-high 16 points, hitting 7 of 10 from the field.

"Diaz on their out of bounds plays and in their offense got some good shots up and kept them in the game," said McFarland.

A strong defensive effort in the fourth quarter helped push the Monarchs out of reach.

"The second half we got things going, especially in the fourth quarter," McFarland said. "We slowed things down on offense and made them to work a bit."

The Monarchs held the Indians to 2-of-14 shooting in the fourth and caused four Indian turnovers to cap an 18-4 run in the final quarter.

TMP travels to Scott City on Friday for a 6 p.m. start.