TMp girls fall to top ranked Wamego
By AUSTIN COLBERT
HILLSBORO -- The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' basketball team was missing key players, was far less experienced and was far shorter than its opponent on Monday in the first round of the Trojan Classic, hosted by Hillsboro High School.
"It looked like we were girls up against women," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "A couple of times we tried to go up against those long arms and they just put it back in our face. It's a learning process. I think we are learning and growing and that's what is important."
Led by two of the state's best basketball players, Wamego (10-0) had no issue handling TMP (3-7) in a 55-21 win over the Monarchs.
Wamego, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A Division I, got 17 points out of Kaylee Page, a 6-foot-2 senior committed to play for the University of Nebraska next season. Kaylee Page is the No. 42 women's basketball prospect in the nation for the class of 2014 by ESPN.
Also on the team is Lanie Page, Kaylee Page's sister, a 6-foot-3 junior, ranked by ESPN as the No. 19 prospect in the country for the class of 2015. Lanie Page is considering Nebraska, Duke, Texas Tech and Louisville, among others.
Against TMP, the Page sisters' height was decisive. The Monarchs tallest players were 5-foot-10, making everything difficult for TMP.
"We don't play against a 6-2 and a 6-3 girl very often," McFarland said. "They are good players and I think it's a good experience. We got to take something positive away from everything."
TMP was also missing many key pieces to its team. Megan Koenigsman, Deonna Wellbrock, Madyson Koerner, Alison Helget and Samantha Younie all missed Monday's game to travel to Washington D.C. along with 30 other TMP students to take part in March for Life, an annual pro-life rally, which is set to take place on Wednesday.
The students are expected to return to Hays on Friday.
With so much production unavailable against Wamego, the Monarchs were left scrambling to find others to score. This led to a 16-4 lead for the Red Raiders after a quarter and a 23-6 Wamego lead at the half.
"I liked the way my girls guarded," said Wamego coach Jim Page, the father of Kaylee and Lanie Page. "I liked our defensive intensity, of course. I really did have some kids that came off the bench and stepped up. That was really good to see, too."
Despite everything, TMP was able to make the most of the situation with a strong defensive performance of its own in the second quarter, holding Wamego to seven points.
"I thought defensively we did some nice things," McFarland said. "There were a few times we didn't guard the Page girls, but overall I thought defensively we didn't do too bad. We missed some shots. Had we hit a few of those we probably would have been in the game a little closer."
Wamego opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 35-6 lead before TMP's offense finally kicked into gear for the final quarter and a half.
The boost in the offense stemmed from a strong third quarter from freshman Katelyn Zimmerman, who had six points in the quarter and 10 for the game to lead the Monarchs.
The Red Raiders scored a quick three points to begin the fourth quarter to take a 30-point lead at 42-12, leading to a running clock for the final 7:24.
While Kaylee Page led the team with her 17 points, including three made 3-pointers, junior guard Allison Seufert stepped up for 15 while Lanie Page finished with 12.
TMP's tournament will continue on Friday at 3 p.m. in Hillsboro when it plays the loser of today's game between Hesston and Goodland. Until then, the Monarchs plan to adjust to playing without so many key players, however temporarily.
"We got a little different mixture, so just the chemistry and figuring out who is going to handle the ball and who is going to do what," McFarland said. "Overall, I thought the girls did all right tonight."