TMP boys adjust for win against Plainville
By KLINT SPILLER
Plainville junior forward Hadley Gillum bent over with his hands on his knees late in the second half Friday. His undershirt and jersey were drenched in sweat, as he panted awaiting for Thomas More Prep-Marian to bring the ball up the court.
Gillum was tired, and the TMP boys' basketball team (7-11) made him that way.
After Gillum exploded for 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the first half, TMP's coaching staff ordered its players to not let Gillum breathe in the second half, telling the Monarchs to get a hand on the ball within one dribble by Gillum.
"The most important adjustment we made at half was what we did defensively to prevent Hadley Gillum from dribbling the ball anywhere he wanted," said TMP head coach Joe Hertel.
They definitely made it difficult for him, and it showed as he scored just four points in the second half.
With Gillum shut down and a near-flawless fourth quarter by TMP, the Monarchs managed to weather Plainville's early storm, and cruised to a 73-57 victory at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
"He was definitely exhausted," said Plainville first-year coach Lonnie Weiser, regarding Gillum late in the game.
Plainville (14-4) has limited depth and is forced to play its best players for much of the game.
Besides the halftime break, Gillum didn't see significant rest until midway through the fourth quarter.
It didn't help Plainville that the Monarchs appeared to be unstoppable in the fourth quarter. TMP scored on 14 of 18 possessions in the final period.
Meanwhile, Plainville struggled with turnovers, committing eight in the fourth that led to 14 points. The Cardinals finished with 21 total turnovers -- 15 of which came in the second half.
"Their defense put a little more pressure on us getting the ball into our big guys," Weiser said. "We were losing the ball a lot of times."
TMP shot 9 of 11 from the field in the fourth, and on its two misses, junior forward Jordan Gottschalk collected the offensive rebound and scored.
It was an impressive finish considering how the game started. Plainville led 20-12 at the end of the first quarter and led by as much as 10 three times in the first half.
"The game could have been over early," Hertel said. "We battled back to get it fairly close at half and basically we found another gear in the second half on both ends of the floor. That was really impressive."
Four Monarchs reached double figures.
Gottschalk led the way with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Junior forward Ryan Mayorga scored 14 points, senior point guard Shane Zimmerman had 13 and senior guard Tanner Unrein added 10 on 5-of-7 shooting.
Sophomore forward Cameron Fouts and sophomore guard Kameron Schmidt each had eight points.
"When you can put in that kind of a stat set, in terms of balanced scoring, the opponent cannot do what we did to Hadley Gillum at halftime," Hertel said. "That's a real plus about having a lot more kids that can carry us in scoring."
Gillum led Plainville with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and nine rebounds, and senior guard Nolan Weiser posted 10 points.
Seniors Connor Collins and Chase Meitler added nine and seven points, respectively.
With the loss, Plainville has dropped two in a row. The Cardinals will finish their season with two more road games. Plainville will play Tuesday at Beloit/St. John's-Tipton and Friday at Phillipsburg.
"We still feel like we could be contending come sub-state time," Lonnie Weiser said.
TMP will travel Tuesday to Colby before returning home to face Hutchinson-Trinity.
Depending on how the Monarchs finish the year, they are in the running for a first-round home game in the sub-state tournament.
"My seniors want to play in this gym two more times -- not just once," Hertel said. "That means a lot to them."