TMP sees season end
By AUSTIN COLBERT
HOISINGTON — It wasn’t quite David and Goliath, but the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys’ basketball team knew it was going to be an uphill battle against mighty Beloit High School on Saturday in its Class 3A sub-state championship game at the Hoisington Activity Center.
“My guys battled just like they always do,” TMP coach Joe Hertel said. “I think we were probably outmanned at every position and yet we had this Beloit team on the ropes. I have no reason to hang my head because my players played their hearts out and gave it a run. This game was no gimme for Beloit.”
Beloit (22-1), the top seed in the Hoisington sub-state, used a strong third quarter to pull away for a 62-53 win over third seed TMP to advance to this week’s Class 3A state tournament in Hutchinson.
It was the first sub-state championship game appearance for TMP since the 2007 season, a year in which it won the Class 4A state championship.
Beloit, ranked No. 5 in 3A in the final KBCA poll, has only lost once this season, a 67-45 loss to Class 5A Maize South on Jan. 24. The Trojans entered sub-state as heavy favorites to advance to the state tournament, but found a lot of early resistance from a Monarch team as battle tested as any.
“Credit to them — they played really hard in that first half,” Beloit sophomore Colson Reames said. “That first half, they came out and were hitting on all cylinders. We had to keep with them and we just kept going in the third and fourth and pulled it out.”
Despite trailing by as much as six points in the first half, a strong finish over the final two minutes of the second quarter gave TMP a 28-26 lead at halftime. The Monarchs largest lead of the game came at 30-26 after a basket by senior Jordan Gottschalk to open the second half.
From there, the quarter belonged to Beloit and Payton Vetter. Vetter scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the third quarter, including 11 in a row for the Trojans. TMP’s inability to stop the senior guard led to a 19-4 Beloit run and the Monarchs’ largest deficit of the game at 45-34 late in the third quarter.
“You got to hand it to the senior veteran boy (Vetter),” Hertel said. “He took over the game offensively in the third quarter, and I think that was the difference in the ball game.”
Beloit outscored TMP 23-13 in the third quarter and led the Monarchs 49-40 going to the final quarter.
“Our defense started picking up and our team was moving the ball better in the third quarter,” Reames said. “We were getting open shots for each other and I think that helped a lot.”
TMP got as close as five points at 58-53 with 2:01 to play but failed to score the rest of the way. Beloit’s final four points came from the foul line.
Collectively the Monarchs struggled shooting as a team, going 18 of 58 (31 percent) from the field and made just 3 of 16 from 3-point range. One of the bright spots was the play of senior Jordan Gottschalk, who led the Monarchs with 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
Junior Kameron Schmidt also finished in double figures for TMP with 11 points.
“We just couldn’t get anything to go. You got to be able to make some to hold off a good team,” Hertel said. “I think we ran out of gas a little bit, but I felt like we had gassed them some in the first half. The only thing that made me feel like my guys were maybe a little tired is because we couldn’t hit our pull-up jumpers on the back of their press.”
While Payton Vetter led Beloit with 18 points, Reames finished with 14 and Bailey Vetter had 12. The Trojans were 5 of 17 from 3-point range.
The loss ends the Monarchs’ season at 13-10 and wraps up the career of its three seniors: Gottschalk, Ryan Mayorga and Adam Schibi.
“For those three big guys, this was it. And it’s always so final. You are playing to move on, but when it doesn’t happen it’s just like a wrecking ball hits you,” Hertel said. “The underclassmen, they get to look forward to maybe getting back to this game a year from now. And getting to this game and playing so hard and being so competitive has to fuel their fire.”
Beloit 62, TMP 53
Jordan Gottschalk 6-10 5-8 17, Kameron Schmidt 3-15 4-4 11, Vitztum 3-7 1-2 9, Hoffman 4-8 0-0 8, Mayorga 2-4 2-2 6, Fouts 0-2 2-2 2, Megaffin 0-11 0-0 0, Ruder 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 14-18 53.
Payton Vetter 8-22 0-1 18, Colson Reames 5-11 1-2 14, Bailey Vetter 4-13 4-9 12, Budke 4-6 0-0 8, Jackson 2-4 0-0 4, Pahls 2-3 0-0 4, Tatro 1-2 0-3 2, Hesting 0-1 0-0 0, Riemann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 5-15 62.
TMP 12 16 12 13 — 53
Beloit 14 12 23 13 — 62
3-point goals — TMP 3-16 (Vitztum 2), Beloit 5-17 (Reames 3). Rebounds — TMP 34, Beloit 35. Turnovers — TMP 12, Beloit 8. Fouls — TMP 17, Beloit 16.