TMP rallies for semifinal victory
By AUSTIN COLBERT
HOISINGTON -- If Jared Vitztum and Peyton Hoffman, both sophomores on the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball team, knew what was on the line, TMP coach Joe Hertel wasn't sure they would have done as well as they did.
"Sometimes I think they are so young they haven't learned yet to get nervous. Both of them played big tonight," Hertel said. "All of my young players have made huge strides in maturity over the last month alone. I know it gets old me saying we're proud, but I really am. I'm proud of them."
Vitztum and Hoffman scored 13 points each and led third-seeded TMP (13-9) to a 55-52 comeback win over second-seeded Minneapolis (15-7) on Thursday in the Hoisington Class 3A sub-state semifinals. The Monarchs will play top-seeded Beloit (21-1) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Hoisington with a trip to the state tournament in Hutchinson going to the victor.
Beloit needed overtime to beat fifth seed Lyons (10-12), 72-71 on Thursday. Beloit was ranked No. 5 in Class 3A in the final KBCA poll of the season.
TMP's opportunity to play for the sub-state championship didn't look to be in the cards late in the third quarter against Minneapolis. The Monarchs trailed 44-31 with 2:01 to go until the fourth after they trailed 31-24 at halftime.
Shots weren't falling for TMP and its defense was average at best.
"Ultimately we made plays when we had to," Hertel said. "It wasn't pretty offensively. In fact, there were some times at the end of the game that showed we are still young. But I tell you what, these kids are really resilient."
Hoffman finished the third quarter with a 3-pointer, one of three he made for the game, to cut the Monarchs' deficit to 44-35 going to the final quarter.
Hoffman's final 3-pointer came a couple of possessions into the fourth and followed a basket by Vitztum, making it 44-40 Minneapolis.
It was the closest the game had been since the Lions led 13-9 in the second quarter.
TMP spent almost the rest of the fourth quarter at the foul line. The Monarchs made only one field goal over the final seven minutes. That field goal, however, was a 3-pointer by Vitztum to give the Monarchs a 51-48 edge with 56 seconds to play, TMP's first lead since it was 2-0.
TMP held on to the lead the rest of the game, but gave the Lions chances to win. A turnover on an inbound pass by TMP's Max Megaffin gave Minneapolis the ball under its own basket with 3.3 seconds to go, down three.
Then the Monarchs' defense stepped up and forced a contested 3-pointer by Minneapolis senior Brandon Davis at the buzzer that hit nothing but air.
"I got some young men with big hearts," Hertel said. "We proved in our last two regular season games that we can get down and come back. What a great experience that was. It built confidence and we were in that same hole tonight. We just kept battling."
TMP outscored Minneapolis 20-8 in the fourth quarter.
Vitztum and Hoffman were the only two players in double figures for TMP. Kameron Schmidt added eight, Jordan Gottschalk seven and Max Megaffin six.
Davis led Minneapolis with 13 points, while Alex Yoxall had 10.
"My post-game speech was don't be satisfied, don't let this be good enough," Hertel said. "Why not come to play Saturday and find a way to get to the big show? None of these boys have been there as a player and it's one of those things where I know what it's like, but you can't tell a young man what it's like to play there. He just has to get there."
TMP 55, Minneapolis 52
Brandon Davis 5-10 0-0 13, Alex Yoxall 4-5 2-6 10, Eric Yoxall 4-8 2-4 10, Macy 2-13 3-4 7, Johns 2-7 1-2 6, Kelly 1-2 0-0 2, Rothenberger 0-3 2-2 2, Mortimer 1-5 0-2 2. Totals 19-53 10-20 52.
Jared Vitztum 3-5 5-6 13, Peyton Hoffman 5-7 0-0 13, Schmidt 2-9 4-6 8, Gottschalk 3-10 1-1 7, Megaffin 3-9 0-0 6, Fouts 1-2 2-2 4, Mayorga 0-1 2-4 2, Schibi 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 18-44 14-19 55.
Minneapolis 13 18 13 8 -- 52
TMP 7 17 11 20 -- 55
3-point goals -- Minneapolis 4-15 (Davis 3), TMP 5-13 (Hoffman 3). Rebounds -- Minneapolis 25, TMP 26. Turnovers -- Minneapolis 12, TMP 17. Fouls -- Minneapolis 19, TMP 19. Fouled out -- Gottschalk, TMP.