Russel girls pull away for win against TMP
By TYLER PARKS
RUSSELL -- It was the "same old story, different game."
At least in the eyes of Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball coach Rose McFarland.
A strong fourth quarter surge by the Monarchs wasn't enough as Russell scored 10 unanswered to close the game for a 53-45 win.
"We just didn't start off very good, so somehow we have to be more ready to start the game or maybe get a better warm up because I don't feel like we have been ready from the start of a game," McFarland said.
Neither team started out all that strong, but a 9-2 run to close the second quarter gave Russell (7-2) a 24-12 cushion.
The surge was led by senior guards Chantal Prester and Savanna Huff.
Huff had nine of her team-high 16 points in the second quarter on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, while Prester was a perfect 3-for-3 adding seven of her 13 in the quarter.
"I was very pleased with our guard play overall. We had some girls step up tonight and make plays, Savanna Huff and Chantal Prester specifically," said Russell head coach Frank Schulte.
Two 3s late in the third by TMP senior guard Annie Mindrup put TMP (1-8) within six before Russell's Prester hit a last-second jumper to put the Broncos up by eight going into the fourth.
TMP senior guard Heather Ruder then took the game into her hands in the Monarchs' rally attempt. She hit back-to-back 3s to start the fourth, followed by a steal and layup to tie the game at 38.
Ruder had 11 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter.
"The girls battled, we didn't have a very good offensive first half," McFarland said. "We got a little behind, but we still battled back. We didn't get the breaks at the end of the game, a couple things didn't go our way and they took advantage of it."
After a Russell timeout, the Broncos regrouped with a 5-0 run after Ruder's burst.
"We played very good defense on Heather Ruder for most of the game," Schulte said. "Then in the early part of the fourth quarter we forgot about her and she hit two 3s, then all of a sudden we had a game again."
Another Ruder trey and a Jenna Shuckman basket tied it again at 43 with four minutes left.
Shuckman gave TMP their first lead with a basket in the low post to put the Monarchs up 45-43 with 3:10 remaining. Russell though, scored 10 unanswered to finish the game and give the Monarchs their eighth loss.
"I was proud of our girls that they were able to re-gather themselves and get a win," Schulte said.
Rebounding troubled the Monarchs again with the Broncos grabbing 13 offensive boards.
"It goes back to the rebounding again," McFarland said. "That has hurt us in a lot of games. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. They were tough on the boards, but we have to do a better job of boxing out."
It was the Monarchs' fifth game this season decided by nine points or less.
"We just came up short again. I really thought we had this one," McFarland said. "We have had quite a few games were we have gotten behind then we battled hard to catch back and we just aren't able to finish games."
Russell continued its strong season with four players in double figures.
Junior Janna Schulte and senior Madison Beagley scored 12 and 10, respectively.
TMP had won the previous six meetings, including a defeat in last year's sub-state tournament.
"I was hoping to win. I haven't beat TMP since I've been here. I'm glad to get that done tonight," said coach Schulte, in his fourth year.
The two teams could possibly see each other again in the Class 3A sub-state tournament in Norton.
"The girls are keeping their heads up," McFarland said. "We know we can beat them, that is a positive. They are one of the better teams we will see in our sub-state."
TMP will travel to Hillsboro on Tuesday to play 9-1 Hillsboro at 8 p.m. in the opening round of the Trojan Classic.