Thomas More Prep-Marian girls’ basketball coach Rose McFarland knew her 2018-19 club would have some question marks.
Teams don’t just automatically replace more than 60 percent of their scoring and six seniors that graduated from a team that finished 21-4 and in fourth place in Class 3A.
The Monarchs’ youth — minus a few key contributors to last year’s run — was on display in Thursday’s 53-32 loss against perennial Class 6A contender Manhattan in the opening round of the Hays City Shootout. The Monarchs had turnover after turnover, had trouble rebounding, and couldn’t find a consistent scoring threat as they opened the year 0-1.
“We didn’t handle their pressure very well on the press,” said McFarland. “And they turned into some easy layups for them.”
TMP-Marian fell to a Manhattan team that returns some key elements from its 20-3 run a year ago, which resulted in a first-round exit from the 6A state tourney.
Six-foot-2 senior Kia Wilson dumped in a game-high 18 points, with 12 coming before halftime as the Monarchs fell into a 9-0 hole and never really were in contention. A 14-2 run in the second half put it completely out of reach.
“Right before half, I thought we started kind of settling down,” McFarland said, “taking care of the basketball better and getting into some type of offense.
The Monarchs put up 13 points in the second quarter, going inside for four to varsity newcomer Sasha Wasinger. The sophomore was the hottest hand scoring, ending the game with 13 points off the bench for TMP.
“One of the biggest issues we had was on the boards,” McFarland said. “They got a lot of rebounds and putbacks. That really hurt us.”
The Monarchs return four role players from last season in seniors Jillian Lowe and Emily Schippers, along with junior Adell Riedel and sophomore Kyleigh Allen. Beyond that, virtually everyone is brand new to the varsity level.
“We’re going to have to figure out our roles and how they fit in,” McFarland said. “Not many of these girls played a lot of minutes last year. They were nervous as all get out, and that showed on the court early.”
Lowe managed seven points, with five coming after halftime, but Manahttan put up 27 second-half points en route to the blowout victory, and earned a spot in today’s 5:15 p.m. semifinal against Hays.
The Monarchs are set to play Millwood (Okla.) in the 3:30 p.m. game today at Hays Middle School.
Manhattan 43, TMP 32
Manhattan (1-0) 9 17 15 12 — 53
TMP (0-1) 2 13 7 10 — 32
Manhattan — Weixelman 2, Williams 8, Harper 7, Osterman 4, Kuntz 2, Wilson 18, Johnson 11, Coonrad 1.