The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls’ basketball team was clicking on all cylinders in Tuesday night’s Class 3A sub-state opener at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
Monarch head coach Rose McFarland was pleased with the effort her team displayed against Southeast of Saline, despite the difference in record for her top-seeded club and the eighth-seeded Trojans.
TMP’s dominance showed early and often in a 69-36 victory, moving the Monarchs into Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal against Riley County in Minneapolis.
“Tonight’s first half was probably one of the better halves we have played in years as far as being consistent on offense and defense,” McFarland said.
TMP poured in 27 points in the first quarter and 19 in the second, while only giving up a total of 19 first-half points to Southeast of Saline.
Leading big early, McFarland was able to play everyone on the roster throughout most of the second half.
“I was proud of everybody. We got everyone in the game, and all of the girls came in and played hard,” McFarland said.
TMP senior Kayla Vitztum, who led all scorers with 17 points, also emphasized her team’s focus, and the team’s performance in Tuesday’s victory.
“We just wanted to come out and really run, and show the sub-state how many points we can score right away,” the senior said.
While coming away with an easy win, Vitztum keeps the thought in the back of her mind that the season is now a win-or-go-home scenario as the Monarchs look to make a run for a 3A state tournament appearance.
“I really wanted to go out and play the hardest I can play,” said Vitztum, a Newman University volleyball signee. “Knowing that soon I won’t be able to put on that uniform again really caught me emotionally.”
Savannah Yost finished the game with 10 points, Aubrey Koenigsman with nine, and Bailey Lacy with four for TMP. Keely Orr led Southeast of Saline with 10.
The Trojans finished 5-15, while top-seeded TMP, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, moved to 18-2.