Monarch boys win big; girls fall
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball coach Joe Hertel doesn't believe he has any "flashy players," guys that can bring in double-digit points on a regular basis.
This doesn't mean, however, that he believes there aren't players with that potential. Cameron Fouts scored 18 points in a season-opening loss to Garden City, Max Megaffin had 17 in a win over Colby, and Jared Vitztum had 17 in a loss to Phillipsburg earlier this week.
Then came Kameron Schmidt's 21 points in a 74-47 win over Ellinwood on Friday at the former Kennedy Middle School gym.
"He can flat out score. And he still missed a lot of shots that I think he is going to make yet this year," Hertel said of Schmidt. "He did not become tentative after he missed a couple early. That's what I really liked about it. I think he knows it's going to be there now. I think he feels a lot better about it as we move forward."
Schmidt did the bulk of his work in the second quarter, one that saw him hit five 3-pointers en route to 19 halftime points.
TMP (2-3) and Ellinwood were neck and neck to 13-13, when a small run gave the Monarchs a 21-15 advantage after the first quarter. Schmidt had four points on 2 of 5 shooting in the quarter, going 0 of 1 from 3-point range.
Then Schmidt caught fire, making 5 of 8 shots in the second quarter, all made 3-pointers, to give TMP a 45-30 halftime lead.
"The fact that he made all five of his threes in the second quarter literally and mathematically was the difference in the game at the half," Hertel said. "I've known for a long, long time that Kameron can score."
Schmidt cooled off in the second half, only scoring two points on 1 of 4 shooting, but by that time the damage had been done.
TMP outscored Ellinwood 14-6 in the third quarter and held the Eagles to only 17 points in the second half. The final two quarters were mostly about the Monarch defense, which pressed most of the game and forced multiple turnovers.
"I don't know if we are a pressing team, but I just wanted us to be forced to exert some energy and play with enthusiasm," Hertel said. "I really thought our playing full-court defense on a regular basis, particularly after made baskets and full-court dead balls, was the ticket to the tempo of the game. And that suited us."
TMP's largest lead was 32 points when the score was 74-42. The final 3:19 was played with a running clock.
Beyond Schmidt's 21 points, Fouts and Jordan Gottschalk each added 10 for the Monarchs. Tanner Swank led Ellinwood with 16 points, while Marc Waite had 10.
TMP enters the holiday break at 2-3.
"It's every coaches -- I don't know if it's dream -- but it's certainly his plan to get a win right before Christmas so you don't have to chew on that bad taste for a whole 10 days," Hertel said. "You can relax a little bit more and I can be a little bit better family man and have a little bit better attitude about the whole holiday season."
Big fourth quarter gets Ellinwood past TMP girls
The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team did everything but start and finish against Ellinwood on Friday at the former Kennedy Middle School gym.
"We didn't get a very good start, but we competed and we came back," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "We had our moments where we played really good. Then we went real flat. I don't think we hardly scored at the end of the game."
TMP (1-4) trailed 9-0 and was outscored 22-11 in the fourth quarter in a 67-52 loss to the Eagles. But for most of the game, the Monarchs hung right with Ellinwood.
Ellinwood led 15-6 after the first quarter, and didn't allow TMP to score until nearly five minutes had gone by in the game. Then the Monarchs opened the second quarter on a 10-3 run and eventually tied the game at 22.
Ellinwood led 31-26 at halftime.
"We wanted to kind of push the ball and get it up and down the floor better than we did in the first quarter," McFarland said. "I thought the second quarter we did that. Then we kind of went back to their game and they controlled the tempo of the game."
TMP kept pace throughout the third quarter, getting as close as 42-41 before a three-point play by Ellinwood's Tawny Arndt gave the Eagles a 45-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
From that point on, Ellinwood controlled the game and cruised to the 15-point victory.
Freshman guard Megan Koenigsman led TMP with 14 points. Kaylor Gottschalk had 13 and Madyson Koerner had 11. Amanda Tucker led Ellinwood with 17 points with 16 more coming from Sophie Hayes.
Ellinwood made 20 of 29 free throws, while TMP was just 12 of 27.
Despite a 1-4 start to the season, McFarland is pleased with where the young Monarchs are. TMP only has one senior and three juniors on its roster, leaving a lot of its fate up to the underclassmen.
"I looked out there one time and I think we had four freshmen and a sophomore on the court," McFarland said.
"Those girls are stepping up. They are getting experience and I think they are doing a nice job. They are competing. They are not backing down. So the future looks bright and I'm excited about it."
TMP will next play Victoria at 6 p.m. on Jan. 3 at Gross Memorial Coliseum. The boys' game will follow.