For the first time since it joined the league, the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys’ basketball team had to play its way into the Mid-Continent League Tournament.

There’s a first time for everything. They also won a play-in game for the first time. 

The No. 7-seeded Monarchs took out Smith Center, 65-59, on Saturday to advance into the quarterfinals of the annual tourney, and now will travel to Ellis on Monday for a matchup against the second-seeded Railers.

Leading the way Saturday, big man Jared Mayers dumped in a game- and career-high 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the double-double. Jackson Schulte added 12 points and Ryan Karlin 13 as the Monarchs moved to 6-4.

Rece Buckmaster had 12 points to lead the way for Smith Center, which will play Stockton for ninth place Thursday in Stockton. Stockton fell 44-34 to Norton in other play-in action Saturday. Norton advances to face top seed Phillipsburg on Monday in Phillipsburg. All Monday games begin at 6 p.m. at the higher seed. No. 5 Plainville plays at No. 4 Trego, No. 7 TMP at No. 2 Ellis and No. 6 Hill City at No. 3 Oakley.