TMP boys win sub-state opener
By AUSTIN COLBERT
There is usually a point in every team's season where a close game will be decided by its bench players, and for the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys, that time wasn't on Monday against Norton Community High School.
But when that time comes, TMP coach Joe Hertel has proof those players will be ready and it came in the Monarchs' 58-37 win over the Bluejays in their Class 3A sub-state opener at Hays Middle School.
"I got a contribution from all 11 players tonight, and that really wasn't the plan going in," Hertel said. "I'm proud of the kids that haven't got much varsity time but had to come in and fill a role tonight that we needed them to. And not only be a body on the floor, but find a way to contribute on both ends."
TMP (12-9) had eight players score, six of which had at least six points. Senior Jordan Gottschalk led the way with 12 points, with junior Cameron Fouts adding 11.
The win advances third-seeded TMP into the sub-state semifinals, where it will play No. 2 seed Minneapolis (15-6) in Hoisington on Thursday. Minneapolis is coming off a 75-44 win over Hoisington on Monday.
Norton (8-13) fell into an early 13-2 hole against the Monarchs in the first quarter, and outside of its first-half run to cut the TMP lead to 17-15, never threatened the entire game.
"We had a few dead spots, offensively particularly," Hertel said. "We had some spots where we let our bodies get out of position, defensively, and piled up some fouls. But you know, we maintained and we held them off."
The game saw poor shooting from both teams (Norton 29 percent, TMP 38 percent) and a combined 50 free-throw attempts.
The free-throw line proved to be a key separator of the teams. TMP was an efficient 18 of 23 from the foul line, while Norton was just 12 of 27.
Made field goals were a rare occurrence for the Bluejays throughout much of the game. Norton made only three shots over the second and third quarters combined, one coming in a third quarter that had 18 free-throw attempts between the teams.
TMP led 31-18 at halftime and 42-27 after three quarters. The final 21-point margin was also the largest lead of the game for the Monarchs.
Junior Deon Lyle was a bright spot on the Norton offense, leading the team with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting. Norton senior Drew Schrum also finished in double figures with 11.
TMP outrebounded Norton 40-21.
"I don't do a lot of water under the bridge critiquing once we get to this point. We managed to find a way to win and we get to play on Thursday. We are going to look forward," Hertel said. "I think tonight, though, should give all of my players a little bit of confidence and maybe even help them move to the next level."
In the other half of TMP's sub-state bracket, hosted by Hoisington, top-seeded Beloit defeated Ellsworth 76-46 and No. 4 seed Phillipsburg lost to No. 5 seed Lyons, 66-59. The winner of Thursday's Beloit-Lyons and TMP-Minneapolis games will meet on Saturday in Hoisington for a spot in the Class 3A state tournament. TMP plays Minneapolis at 6 p.m.
TMP 58, Norton 37
Deon Lyle 7-12 1-4 18, Drew Schrum 3-5 5-9 11, Furbush 1-6 4-8 6, Porter 0-9 1-4 1, Sondergaard 0-0 1-1 1, Cox 0-1 0-0 0, Lewis 0-3 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Unterseher 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-38 12-27 37.
Jordan Gottschalk 5-12 2-2 12, Cameron Fouts 3-7 5-6 11, Mayorga 3-6 3-5 9, Schmidt 2-4 2-2 8, Hoffman 0-6 6-8 6, Megaffin 3-6 0-0 6, Vitztum 2-4 0-0 4, Schumacher 1-1 0-0 2, Flax 0-3 0-0 0, Schippers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-50 18-23 58.
Norton 13 5 9 10 -- 37
TMP 17 14 11 16 -- 58
3-point goals -- Norton 3-11 (Lyle 3), TMP 2-7 (Schmidt 2). Rebounds -- Norton 21, TMP 40. Turnovers -- Norton 19, TMP 17.