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TMP boys lose big lead

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

ABILENE -- There was a time when the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball team was cruising along en route to an easy win against Abilene on Tuesday. Then the ship bottomed out and the Monarchs had to salvage what they could out of the wreckage.

"I think the thing I'm most proud of is just the fact the top six or seven guys managed to pull the Titanic up off the bottom and still right the ship and give themselves an opportunity to win a game that had basically gone down the toilet a few minutes earlier," TMP coach Joe Hertel said.

"Those kids managed to regain the lead and ultimately, if not for a couple of really, really glaring turnovers down the stretch, we may have gone on the road to Abilene and taken home a victory."

A missed shot on the final possession by TMP (3-5) prevented the game from going to overtime and Abilene (6-2) held on for a 66-64 come-from-behind win over the Monarchs.

With less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, TMP led 48-33 and looked like it would run away with the game.

Hertel was then forced to go to his bench to rest his starters, some of which were facing foul trouble, and Abilene capitalized on this by putting together a dominant stretch of basketball.

By the time the period ended, Abilene led 49-48 thanks to an 18-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter. Careless turnovers by TMP, which led to easy transition baskets by the Cowboys, were key in the run. Hertel admitted he talked to his coaching staff at halftime about how long to keep the starters in the game. In the end, the decision was made for him.

"We got some kids in foul trouble. They were just dead tired at the end of the third and ultimately the younger kids just couldn't hold them off," Hertel said. "It was kind of a track meet there for three minutes and a 16-point lead was gone in a matter of just a little bit of time."

With the starters back in the game, TMP managed to stop the bleeding with a 6-0 run to regain a 54-51 lead early in the fourth quarter. From there it was a back-and-forth affair.

Abilene retook the lead at 61-60 and again at 65-64 after a basket by Keil Kelly with 45 seconds to play. Kelly's basket was sandwiched between two TMP turnovers, and a Tanner Hoekman free throw extended the Cowboys' lead to 66-64 with 27.8 seconds remaining.

A blocked Jared Vitztum 3-point attempt left TMP with the ball and 6.3 seconds to work with. The final play ended in the hands of junior Kameron Schmidt, who had a good albeit contested look in the lane. His shot that bounced around the rim for a couple of seconds before falling out as time expired.

"This is three and a half decades (of coaching) for me and I don't believe I've ever seen a ball that deep inside the ring and come back out," Hertel said of the final shot. "But it did and those things happen. We gave ourselves a win and that's all you can ask."

TMP's large third-quarter lead stemmed from a strong second quarter in which the Monarchs outscored Abilene 17-8 to lead 35-23 at the half. TMP out-rebounded the Cowboys 22-9 over the first two quarters.

The Monarchs were held to only two rebounds in the second half and committed 19 turnovers for the game.

Schmidt and Jordan Gottschalk each finished with 12 points to lead TMP. Ryan Mayorga added 11 while Peyton Hoffman and Cameron Fouts each added 10.

Jesse Patrick led Abilene with 18 points, with 16 more coming from Kelly.

TMP girls can't keep pace with Abilene

Maybe it was the youth or Abilene's size advantage. Either way, the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team played skittish in a 53-36 loss to the Cowgirls on Tuesday in Abilene.

"It was almost like we were a little intimidated at the beginning," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "It was a physical game. I think it's more physical than we are used to, for one. They did a good job defensively against us. We did better toward the end when we started passing around their long arms."

TMP (2-6) fell into a 7-0 hole to Abilene (5-3) and trailed 17-9 after the first quarter. The Monarchs improved in the second quarter but still trailed 31-18 at halftime.

Abilene's Belle Barbieri, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, had 16 points on 7 of 7 shooting for the Cowgirls at the break. She finished with 23 points to lead all players.

"We had a tough time with her," McFarland said of Barbieri. "They did a good job of getting her the ball. They had other players that were tough inside, but she would step up at the foul line and get it and posted up well on the block."

TMP kept pace in the third quarter but couldn't get any closer and trailed 41-28 heading into the final quarter. The Cowgirls' lead reached 21 points at 53-32 with 1:02 to play before the Monarchs scored the final four points of the game.

Melissa Pfeifer led TMP with 12 points, 8 coming in the first half. TMP will host Russell on Friday at the old Kennedy Middle School gym. Start time is 6 p.m., with the boys' game to follow.

Boys

Abilene 66, TMP 64

TMP (3-5)

Kameron Schmidt 5-15 0-0 12, Jordan Gottschalk 5-16 2-2 12, Ryan Mayorga 5-5 1-1 11, Peyton Hoffman 4-5 2-2 10, Cameron Fouts 5-11 0-0 10, Megaffin 3-10 0-0 7, Schibi 1-2 0-0 2, Ruder 0-0 0-0 0, Schumacher 0-0 0-0 0, Vitztum 0-2 0-0 0, Flax 0-0 0-0 0, Schippers 0-1 0-0 0

Abilene (6-2)

Jesse Patrick 7-12 3-4 18, Keil Kelly 5-12 6-6 16, Tanner Hoekman 5-8 1-2 12, Barbieri 3-5 0-1 6, Schwarting 1-1 2-2 4, Harms 2-4 0-0 4, Goodwin 2-7 0-3 4, Stalder 1-1 0-0 2, Hazlett 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0

TMP 18 17 13 16 -- 64

Abilene 15 8 26 17 -- 66

3-point goals -- TMP 3-14 (Schmidt 2), Abilene 2-5 (Patrick 1, Hoekman 1). Free throws -- TMP 5-5, Abilene 12-18. Team Fouls -- TMP 18, Abilene 13. Fouled out -- none.

Rebounds -- TMP 24, Abilene 20. Turnovers -- TMP 19, Abilene 16.

Girls

Abilene 53, TMP 36

TMP (2-6)

Melissa Pfeifer 6-13 0-0 12, S. Younie 4-6 0-1 8, T. Younie 3-6 0-0 6, K. Veach 1-2 0-0 3, Gottschalk 1-3 1-2 3, Koenigsman 0-3 2-2 2, Wellbrock 1-1 0-1 2, Applequist 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0-1 0-0 0, Koerner 0 0-0 0, DeWitt 0-1 0-0 0

Abilene (5-3)

Belle Barbieri 10-12 3-5 23, McKenzie Funston 4-9 0-3 11, Geist 2-5 1-4 6, Taylor 3-7 0-0 6, Thompson 2-4 0-2 4, Hayes 0-0 2-2 2, Olberding 0-0 1-2 1, Brooks 0-1 0-0 0, Collette 0-0 0-0 0, Anderes 0-1 0-0 0

TMP 9 9 10 8 -- 36

Abilene 17 14 10 12 -- 53

3-point goals -- TMP 1-7 (Veach), Abilene 4-9 (Funston 3). Free throws -- TMP 3-6, Abilene 7-18. Team fouls -- TMP 17, Abilene 8. Fouled out -- none.

Rebounds -- TMP 18, Abilene 18. Turnovers -- TMP 25, Abilene 15.