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TMP girls outlast Hays High for seventh

12/8/2013

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball coach Rose McFarland calls freshman Megan Koenigsman a "very good shooter." Koenigsman has honed her skills for many years. Even Thursday, McFarland heard Koenigsman had practiced on her own, a regular occurrence.

Koenigsman's shooting touch, especially from the free throw line, helped the Monarchs defeat Hays High School, 47-40, on Saturday morning at Hays Middle School.

TMP finished seventh in the Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shootout, while the Indians took eighth. Koenigsman collected 22 points, including 11 of 12 from the free throw line at Hays Middle School.

"For a freshman to step on the line with that confidence shows that she is a confident shooter," McFarland said.

Both teams feature young squads. HHS has just one senior, guard Haley Wells, who led the Indians with 16 points. TMP has one senior, forward Samantha Younie, and often played three freshmen and two sophomores.

"I am not going to use young as an excuse for very long, but we have got to start doing the things that we practice and work on," HHS coach Kirk Maska said.

It marked the first matchup between TMP and Hays High in basketball since the 1999-2000 season. Both coaches downplayed any rivalry.

"The girls know each other really well," Maska said. "The coaches know all the kids. I thought it was going to be a close game."

"A win is a win," McFarland added. "It doesn't matter who you are playing."

The Monarchs came out a little flat after an overtime loss to Colby on Friday. TMP trailed 10-5 after the first quarter, but an 8-0 run gave the Monarchs the lead.

"We worked hard yesterday," McFarland said. "We battled from start to finish, we came up short."

Hays High briefly tied the game in the second quarter, but TMP led the rest of the contest, although never by more than nine points.

"The best team won today," Maska said.

TMP played well in the half court, outrebounded the Indians in each quarter and finished plus-six on the glass for the contest.

"We are getting better at it," McFarland said. "We are still a little mechanical, but once we get a little more in the flow of it, (the half court) is going to come around."

The Monarchs led 30-25 after three quarters and Koenigsman tallied TMP's first 10 points of the fourth quarter, the first eight from the foul line. She had one free throw taken off the scoreboard after an official's conference about a previous play, but calmly sank the retry.

Koenigsman moved the lead to 40-33 midway through the quarter. TMP missed a shot, but no one corralled the ball as it bounced near the midline.

"We tend to stand around," Maska said. "They know that they are supposed to be moving. Shots go up and they know that they are supposed to go rebound, but they watch. We are fine. We are doing the best that we can right now."

Koenigsman caught it, and falling backwards, found an open teammate. She eventually ended the possession with a jumper.

"She really loves basketball and takes it pretty serious," McFarland said. "It just grows amongst our team. It's tough for a freshman - I don't want to put any pressure on her. I am just happy with her progress so far, but I am just happy with all of their progress."