Ruder sinks 8 3s in Monarch loss

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

ELLINWOOD -- The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team can't catch a break.

Monarch senior point guard Heather Ruder exploded for a career-high 30 points, making eight 3-pointers, and the Monarchs had their best offensive night of the season, scoring 64 on 24-of-53 shooting.

And despite all that, TMP still lost by 10 to Ellinwood and dropped to 0-5 and 0-1 in league play.

"They did everything I asked them to do tonight, and we still came up short," said TMP head coach Rose McFarland. "What do you do? I'm proud of them. I think they played their hearts out."

For everything TMP was doing right, Ellinwood (4-2, 1-0 MCAA) just played better. They caught fire early and didn't slow much throughout the game.

The Eagles shot 65 percent from the field and 78 percent from beyond the arc.

Ellinwood also had a complete team performance, as five Eagles scored in double figures.

Sophomore Rachel Doll led Ellinwood with 21 points. Junior forward Kelsea Ward scored 13 points, and junior Brooke Panning and junior Amanda Tucker each had 11. Junior Sophie Hayes added 10.

"This is by far our best game of the season, but that team was hot," McFarland said. "They shot lights out. They didn't miss from 3, and when we went out to guard them, they threw it inside."

Ruder had her best game of her career. Her 30 points came on 10-of-15 shooting, while she had eight assists and four steals.

She sat for a brief moment early, but then she played the rest of the game.

"Heather played an amazing game," McFarland said. "... There were two girls on her chasing her all the time."

After making her first six 3-pointers, she kept shooting them and finished 8 of 12 from beyond the arc.

"I was just kind of shooting," Ruder said. "I was feeling on, so I was like, 'Well, I'll keep shooting.' "

It was the third time in the past three seasons that a TMP girls player has scored 30 points. Rachel Jacobs, now a freshman at Fort Hays State University, did it once in each of the past two seasons, and each of those times, TMP won.

At certain points, Ruder seemed to singlehandedly keep her team in the game.

In the first quarter alone, she helped TMP weather Ellinwood's perfect storm. While the Eagles shot 7 of 7 in the first quarter, Ruder made three 3-pointers and assisted on four of TMP's five baskets not made by Ruder, allowing TMP to take a 20-17 lead into the second quarter.

"If she wasn't scoring, she was giving it up to her teammates," McFarland said.

Junior forward Samantha Younie was the only other Monarch to reach double figures, scoring 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Senior guard Annie Mindrup added eight, and senior forward Jenna Schuckman had seven.

"It's really frustrating, but I think that our team is finally starting to come together," Ruder said. "We are playing more as a team. More people are starting to contribute, which is helping a lot."

The Monarchs fell behind in the second quarter, as Ellinwood went on a pair of runs -- a 10-4 run to start the quarter and a 12-5 run to end it.

At halftime, the Eagles led 42-33 after making 16 of 23.

The Monarchs battled back in the third quarter to narrow Ellinwood's lead to 58-56 at the start of the fourth, but then TMP finally went cold.

The Monarchs made just 3 of 11 in the fourth quarter, while Ellinwood managed to separate itself.

"We have been struggling hitting shots, and tonight, we hit shots," McFarland said. "They just hit more."

TMP is 0-5 for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. That year, the Monarchs started 0-7 and finished 2-19.

McFarland said her players need to keep their heads up.

"If we would have played like this in the other games, it would have been a whole different story," McFarland said. "We played really well tonight."