Plainville tops TMP to move to 17-2
By NICK McQUEEN
PLAINVILLE -- Playing its fourth game in five days, the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball team needed things to go just right Friday night against future Mid-Continent League foe Plainville, the No. 10 ranked team in Class 2A.
For a half, the Monarchs got one thing to go their way. It just wasn't enough in what ended up a 66-54 win for the two-loss Cardinals.
Two minutes into the contest, Plainvile standout big man and leading scorer Hadley Gillum picked up two quick fouls. The senior sat the remainder of the first half having not attempted a shot or credited with a rebound. The 6-foot-5 Gillum averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds per contest entering the game.
"They have a good club," Monarch coach Joe Hertel said. "We had an advantage by getting the big man on the bench with fouls. But it was a hard-fought game, very physical."
With Gillum on the bench and facing a physical TMP defense, Cardinal junior Brent Gehring filled the void with 12 first-half points in a back-and-forth battle.
"He carried us, and I told him that," Plainville first-year coach Chris Drees said. "He can do that. He is a scorer, but he plays both ends pretty well.
"He's had some good games, but not where he has had to shoulder the load like he did in the first half."
Plainville had an 8-2 run that put the Cardinals ahead by six near the end of the first half, but TMP responded with its own 8-2 run to close the half and take a 26-25 lead -- a difference Hertel thought should have been bigger.
"We accomplished what we needed to defensively and got some good looks offensively," Hertel said. "But you could tell the shots were tired shots."
TMP (9-9) was coming off an overtime loss the previous night to Larned and was ending what Hertel said was the first time in his 35 years a varsity team had played four times in the same week. TMP had two make-up games in addition to its two regularly-scheduled contests.
Some early fouls hurt the Monarchs as well. By halftime, Plainville had attempted 18 free throws and made 11, keeping the Cardinals in it without Gillum.
"TMP is real aggressive defensively," Drees said. "They got some cheap fouls, and I think that hurt them."
With Gillum fresh in the second half, Plainville (17-2) opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run and built a double-digit advantage. But the Monarchs came back to within single digits on two occasions late in the game.
"We just battled; we battled hard," Hertel said. "I don't think we played the game poorly. Things just didn't go our way."
Gillum scored four points in the third quarter en route to finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds, his 17th double-double of the season.
"We were really happy with where we were at halftime, knowing Hadley was going to get to come back," Drees said. "He's a difference-maker when he is out there."
Gehring ended with 18 points and was 8 of 14 from the free-throw line. TMP also was whistled for two technicals -- one a baseline violation. The Monarchs hit just 39 percent from the floor, while Plainville caught fire in the second half and finished at 58 percent. The Cardinals also made 21 of 34 foul shots.
Senior Jordan Gottschalk led TMP with 12 points, while sophomore Jared Vitztum had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Before heading to their respective locker rooms after the game, Hertel and Drees met on the court to exchange a hug and handshake in the first meeting between the two head coaches. Drees is a former player for Hertel and served as a TMP assistant prior to his stint as head coach at Palco. He took over the head coaching spot in Plainville this year.
"I was nervous tonight," Drees said. "He is my mentor, and it was almost like I didn't want to disappoint him."
Drees told his team, " 'I don't know if you like TMP or not, but I just want you to play absolutely as hard as you can tonight, and I want you to do it for me,' " Drees said. "They kind of had my back tonight."
Hertel was upbeat, despite his Monarchs falling to .500 with one game remaining before Class 3A sub-state seeding.
"It was a warm feeling for me, because Chris Drees is not only a former assistant and a good one, but he's a good friend. Just that whole thing, regardless of the outcome, was just a nice feeling for me as an old coach."
The Plainville boys have another stern test Tuesday with 17-0 St. John's-Beloit-Tipton in Plainville for the Cardinals' regular-season finale. TMP plays host to Colby at the Hays Middle School gym on Tuesday.
Long run pushes Monarch girls past Plainville
TMP girls' coach Rose McFarland said her young Monarch team has been building up to one thing -- playing its best basketball in late February, early March.
After a big first-half run and a 62-35 victory Friday night against a similarly young Plainville team, McFarland believes her club is doing just that.
The win was TMP's second straight and moved the Monarchs to 7-11. Plainville fell to 5-14.
"I was a little nervous. I wasn't sure how we would come out," McFarland said. "We had some energy left, some legs left to really pick it up, even in the second half."
The long first-half run, though, was the difference. TMP scored seven points in the final 47 seconds of the first quarter. That was part of a 16-0 run that put the Monarchs ahead 24-10 midway through the second quarter.
"When they went on that run -- seven points in a matter of seconds -- we just can't do that," Plainville second-year coach Ron Wolf said. "Our inability to score the ball just hurt us tonight."
TMP had multiple easy buckets in transition and took advantage of some lobbed passes near midcourt.
"We throw the ball over the top, and there is the result," Wolf said.
TMP led 28-18 at halftime after Plainville produced a small spurt of its own. Midway through the third quarter, Plainville cut the lead to single digits behind the play of sophomore Lyric Dewey.
But TMP freshman Madyson Koerner found her range for the second straight game. Koerner scored 10 of the team's points in a 12-5 run that pushed the lead back to double digits.
She and sophomore Melissa Pfeifer had 12 points each, while senior Samantha Younie and freshman Megan Koenigsman had 10 each. Pfeifer added 10 rebounds for a double-double.
"We've been working toward that all year, to be playing our best basketball now," McFarland said. "I think we're getting there. We're starting to put it together."
Dewey led Plainville with 11 points.
Plainville 66, TMP 54
Jordan Gottschalk 5-9 2-2 12, Jared Vitztum 4-7 1-1 10, Schmidt 4-10 0-0 8, Megaffin 3-14 1-2 7, Mayorga 3-6 0-1 6, Horrman 2-7 3-4 7, Fouts 2-3 0-0 4, Schippers 0-1 0-0 0, Schibi 0-1 0-0 0. Totals -- 23-58 7-10 54.
Brent Gehring 5-10 8-14 18, Hadley Gillum 5-7 6-9 17, Friend 4-6 0-1 9, Frederking 2-4 3-4 7, Meitler 2-2 1-2 5, Dewey 1-1 1-2 3, Newell 2-7 2-2 7. Totals -- 21-37 21-34 66.
TMP 16 10 7 21 -- 54
Plainville 15 10 18 23 -- 66
3-point goals -- TMP 1-7 (Schmidt 0-2, Megaffin 0-2, Vitztum 1-3); Plainville 3-6 (Friend 1-1, Gillum 1-2, Newell 1-3). Total fouls -- TMP 28, Plainville 14. Fouled out -- Vitztum, TMP. Technical fouls -- Schmidt, Gottschalk, TMP.
Rebounds -- TMP 30 (Vitztum 8); Plainville 28 (Gillum 11). Turnovers -- TP 18, Plainville 20.
TMP 62, Plainville 35
Melissa Pfeifer 5-12 2-2 12, Samantha Younie 5-7 0-0 10, Madyson Koerner 5-13 0-0 12, Megan Koenigsman 3-11 3-4 10, T. Younie 1-5 1-3 3, Gottschalk 2-3 0-0 4, Zimmerman 1-2 0-0 2, Wellbrock 2-3 0-0 4, Veach 0-0 1-2 1, DeWitt 2-4 0-0 4. Totals -- 26-50 7-11 62.
Kim Junkermeier 2-7 1-2 5, Lyric Dewey 4-9 3-5 11, Werner 1-8 0-2 2, McQueen 2-5 0-0 6, Casey 2-8 0-0 4, Sears 1-2 1-2 3, Winters 0-1 0-0 0, Crawford 1-3 0-0 2, Eilers 1-2 0-0 2, Rathbun 0-1 0-0 0. Totals -- 14-46 5-11 35.
TMP 15 13 16 18 -- 62
Plainville 10 8 9 8 -- 35
3-point goals -- TMP 3-13 (Koenigsman 1-6, Pfeifer 0-1, Koerner 2-6); Plainville 2-4 (Werner 0-1, McQueen 2-3). Total fouls -- TMP 11, Plainville 16. Fouled out -- none. Technical fouls -- none.
Rebounds -- TMP 38 (Pfeifer 10); Plainville 31 (Junkermeier 10). Turnovers -- TMP 17, Plainville 25.