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Panthers oust TMP girls

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

PHILLIPSBURG --  The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team has developed the reputation of being fighters this season, of being able to stay in a ball game no matter how far they fall behind.

And it's for this reason Phillipsburg High School coach Rachel Miller put an emphasis on getting off to a good start when her Panthers hosted TMP on Tuesday in the first round of their Class 3A sub-state.

"We talked about how important it was to kind of set the tone and make a statement early," Miller said. "Knowing that, I've been watching them in their previous games and they don't go away. They keep battling back. They are not quitters."

The Panther players received the message, scoring the first six points of the game en route to a 15-4 lead late in the first quarter. As expected, the eighth-seeded Monarchs made their share of runs but the early deficit proved too much to overcome in their 70-43 loss at Phillipsburg High School.

Phillipsburg also defeated TMP 47-32 on Dec. 17 in Phillipsburg.

The Monarchs' season ends with a 7-14 record. Phillipsburg (16-5), the top seed, advances to play Lyons (13-8) on Friday in Hoisington. Lyons defeated Beloit 64-50 on Tuesday.

"I think the youth kind of showed a little bit tonight," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "It looked like they were a little nervous going up against Phillipsburg and they took it to us. I thought they did a nice job against us. I don't think we got a very good start. That kind of hurt us."

The Monarchs were able to regroup from their early deficit to get as close as 16-11 early in the second quarter. Phillipsburg pushed its lead back to 13 points before a 7-1 Monarch run toward the end of the half made it 32-25.

Four points in the final 16.4 seconds by the Panthers gave them a 36-25 lead at halftime.

Phillipsburg senior Mattison Dusin did most of the early damage. She had 12 points by the break and finished with a game-high 21 on 7 of 8 shooting, including 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.

"My worst fear was that we were going to foul her and I think we did that several times," McFarland said. "Right toward the end of the first half we were making a run. I thought we were really closing in and then we had a couple of turnovers, or a turnover and a foul. Then they'd go to the foul line and make their free throws. It just seemed like every time we started on a run they had an answer for us."

Another 6-0 run to begin the second half pushed the Panthers' lead to 17 points before TMP understood what had happened. The Monarchs would get no closer than 12 points at 51-39 late in the third quarter.

Phillipsburg outscored TMP 15-4 in the fourth.

"The girls were ready to go out and play hard defensively and I think that is really kind of what set the tone," Miller said. "But TMP was never out of it until the fourth quarter. They kept battling and battling. I think they kept it around that 10-point mark, which you are never really comfortable with as a coach."

Freshman Megan Koenigsman led TMP with 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting, while fellow freshman Madyson Koerner had 13.

And it's these two freshmen that have McFarland so optimistic about the future. The Monarchs lose only one senior in Samantha Younie from a team that frequently played nothing but freshmen and sophomores.

"We have some good, young players. I just thought they really improved a lot this year," McFarland said. "We are going to look at how they continue to improve and hopefully they put in some time over the summer. We are going to remember that score and come back next year and try to make a difference."

Phillipsburg 70, TMP 43

TMP (7-14)

Megan Koenigsman 8-12 3-4 20, Madyson Koerner 4-14 2-5 13, Zimmerman 2-4 1-2 5, Gottschalk 1-2 0-0 2, S. Younie 1-3 0-2 2, Wellbrock 0-2 1-2 1, Applequist 0-0 0-1 0, Veach 0-1 0-0 0, Pfeifer 0-4 0-0 0, T. Younie 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-44 7-16 43.

PHILLIPSBURG (16-5)

Mattison Dusin 7-8 7-8 21, Mindy Gower 5-10 2-3 12, Katelyn Swanson 3-7 4-4 10, Madysen Frantz 3-9 4-4 10, S. Wilkison 2-4 0-1 6, Bartels 2-4 1-2 5, D. Wilkison 1-6 1-2 3, Hoover 1-1 0-0 2, Keeten 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 24-50 20-26 43.

TMP 9 16 14 4 -- 43

Phillipsburg 16 20 19 15 --  70

3-point goals -- TMP 4-14 (Koerner 3), Phillipsburg 2-11 (D. Wilkison 2). Rebounds -- TMP 18, Phillipsburg 30. Turnovers -- TMP 27, Phillipsburg 18. Fouls --  TMP 20, Phillipsburg 14. Fouled out -- none.