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Monarch boys seventh, girls eighth in tourney

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

It was a disappointing weekend for Thomas More Prep-Marian basketball at the Hays City Shoot-Out, but at least it ended on a positive note for one Monarch squad.

The TMP boys' basketball team (1-2) defeated Colby, 43-33, in the seventh-place game Saturday at the Hays Middle School gym.

"It at least allows us to go away from a tough tournament feeling halfway decent about ourselves," said TMP boys' head coach Joe Hertel.

The Monarchs forced 27 Colby turnovers in the game and distanced themselves from the Eagles in the fourth quarter, holding Colby to 1-of-10 shooting in the fourth.

TMP trailed by eighth in the second quarter, but the Monarchs went on an 11-1 run fueled by senior point guard Shane Zimmerman.

Zimmerman scored seven points in 45 seconds to take TMP's first lead of the game at 20-19. TMP led 22-20 at halftime.

The Monarchs never lost the lead.

Zimmerman finished with nine points in the game, but his 45-second flurry provided a momentum swing.

"Guess who emerged and took charge when it could have gotten out of hand? Shane Zimmerman," Hertel said. "I think I'm most proud of his taking charge at that point and finding a way to will us back in the ball game."

TMP sophomore forward Cameron Fouts attacked Colby in the second half.

Fouts led the team in scoring with 11 points -- all of which came in the second half. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

"He is the strongest person I have," Hertel said. "I need him to play that way every second he's on the floor, because we need that physical presence."

Colby senior Todd Kane led his team with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting.

The Eagles had a chance to stick with TMP in the fourth quarter, but their shooting went cold as they missed eight consecutive shots and six straight free throws in the fourth.

For TMP, Hertel said he thought his squad took a step forward.

For instance, the Monarchs transitioned to more of a slow-tempo game against Colby.

"I wanted to see if we could play an up-tempo game and see if we could push it fast," Hertel said. "The first two days made it look pretty obvious to anybody with two working eyeballs that that wasn't an appropriate style for this group.

"Today, we didn't push it, kick it, bumble it, fumble it and throw it into the stands," Hertel added. "We brought the ball up the court and tried to get our shooters open. I felt like it spoke for itself."

After committing 37 turnovers in Game 1 against Kearney and struggling against Great Bend in a 53-27 loss, it felt good for Hertel to get a win.

"Particularly after the beatdowns we took the first two days, yeah, I'm happy about the way this ended," Hertel said. "I'm happy, but it will be short lived. We'll be back to the drawing board on Monday getting ready for Phillipsburg."

Disappointing start for Monarch girls

TMP senior point guard Heather Ruder isn't used to losing.

The Monarchs have experienced a great deal of success in Ruder's time, going 64-11 in her first three seasons and winning a state title in 2010.

Starting 0-3 is a foreign concept for Ruder, but that was the reality she faced Saturday following the seventh-place game at the Hays City Shoot-Out at the Hays Middle School gymnasium.

The Monarchs fell 33-24 to Colby to drop to 0-3 for the first time since 2005-06.

"It's tough, but it's a new team, a new year and a new coach," Ruder said. "It is going to take a lot of transition and getting used to things."

TMP hung with Colby for the first three quarters and was even tied with the Eagles 24-24 with seven minutes remaining.

However, the Monarchs went cold and didn't make a basket after that, and Colby stretched its lead to the largest of the game when the buzzer sounded.

"I knew Colby would be pretty good, because we had played them previously," Ruder said. "I was ready for a pretty good game, but it didn't work out I guess."

Ruder was the only Monarch to have a solid offensive outing. She led the team with 14 points on 6 of 15 shooting, which included 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

The rest of the team shot 3 of 27 from the field -- a dismal 11.1 percent. The next highest scorer was senior Jenna Schuckman who scored 4 points -- all off free throws.

"(Ruder) was our main offensive threat today," said first-year TMP head coach Rose McFarland. "We had some good looks, but the ball just didn't go in."

TMP won the turnover battle, committing 12 to Colby's 16, but lost the rebound battle. Colby grabbed 40 rebounds to TMP's 26.

"Against Colby, our challenge was on the boards," McFarland said. "They came in hard and got some offensive rebounds and putbacks."

Though her team finished 0-3, McFarland pointed out how close TMP played Kearney, Neb. The Monarchs lost 47-36, and Kearney made the tournament final.

"At a different time of the year or in a different week, (these games) could have a different outcome," McFarland said.