TMP boys fall to Abilene
By TYLER PARKS
Thomas More Prep-Marian High School boys' basketball coach Joe Hertel saw several positives in Tuesday's matchup against one-loss Abilene.
Just not the positive outcome in the win-loss column in a game where the Monarchs were outmatched by the No. 8 ranked team in Class 4A in a 68-43 setback.
Hertel, though, hopes the signs of improvement he saw carry through the rest of the season.
"I thought the kids played hard, it was our number one goal in pregame to battle. I realize full well that on paper we aren't supposed to have a chance," he said.
"We were outmanned physically probably at every position. I have never wanted or bothered to use that as an excuse. I think we can find a way to be successful against teams that are bigger, faster and stronger people."
One bright spot was sophomore Cameron Fouts, who at 6-foot-1, was often times guarding opponents four or five inches taller and had success on both ends.
"I thought Cameron battled hard and he didn't come out of the game until I finally let him come out for good. What a great effort against people twice his size and he found a way to be successful. It wasn't just that he battled, he found a way to create offense and have success for us and to do that against the sheer difference physically was really impressive.
Fouts had a team high 14 points and six rebounds. He played most of the game, not coming out until late in the fourth.
TMP had a strong third quarter allowing only seven points until a 3-pointer by Abilene's senior Andy Wilson gave the Cowboys 10 in the quarter.
"I thought we battled pretty hard. I thought we squashed their offense at times, we really took them out of what they were trying to do," Hertel said.
Wilson, who has committed to play at Washburn next year, had 18 on the night, nine coming on 3.
"We gave up some three-balls that shouldn't have gone up, but when you have to try and help out on the seven-footers inside it takes your men off the perimeter and exposes us. I thought we defended as a team really well," Hertel said.
Abilene had eight players 6-3 or taller and two taller at 6-7 or taller, so the height advantage was all Abilene. TMP was able to put themselves into position to score, but couldn't find the bucket in the second half.
"I thought we created and presented ourselves with chances to score, that is where we have grown a little bit because we have been offensively challenged in the past. Now I don't think we shot well particularly in the second half, but I think our opportunities were there and I'm really optimistic and excited about our opportunities to score," Hertel said.
The Monarchs hit 6 of 27 after the break after shooting 50 percent in the first half.
"We got a lot of nice opportunities, we just had spells where we missed four or five in a row," Hertel said.
TMP will travel to Russell on Friday to take on the 0-7 Broncos, something Hertel is worried about.
"We are looking at Russell club that hasn't put a win up yet. I worry about us going over there thinking it is going to be easy and we don't have to be sharp and that is a fallacy, that's not going to fly. We have to get ourselves mentally prepared hours, even more than a day before to play well and play smart and be intense," Hertel said.