The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls basketball team got off to a hot start to open the Gerald Mitchell Hays City shootout, but turnovers against Olathe West's pressure defense prevented the Monarchs from sustaining it.
Olathe West took control in the second quarter and never surrendered the lead in the second half, handing TMP a season-opening 58-44 loss on Thursday at Hays High.
TMP jumped out to a 10-2 lead, knocking down three early 3-pointers — two from Adell Riedel and another from Kyleigh Allen. But Olathe West outscored the Monarchs 21-9in the second frame to take a 36-25 lead at the break.
The Monarchs struggled to take care of the ball against the Owls’ pressure.
"It's hard to simulate in practice," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "They were quick. They were getting down the floor offensively and defensively, and double teaming us, and we didn't handle it very well in the beginning. I thought the second half we did better at handling their pressure until the end of the game when we were just trying to go too fast and we just threw it away."
On the verge of breaking away for a blowout in the third quarter, the Owls took a 13-point lead into the fourth but were held scoreless by the Monarchs for the first 6:27 of the final frame.
TMP cut the lead down to eight with 3:50 left on a bucket from Riedel but couldn’t get closer.
"I think they gave us some opportunities there," McFarland said. "We stopped them on defense several times. We were able to score a few times, but I felt like we just missed our opportunities on the offensive end, because we were getting the ball back, but we were either going too fast, throwing it away, or we didn't execute and take advantage of the opportunity that was given to us."
Riedel led the Monarchs with 14 points while Sasha Wasinger added 10 points off the bench.
"I saw a lot of good things out there," McFarland said. "I told the girls, we're going to get better through this. It was a good team to play. We don't see that kind of pressure that often."
The Monarchs will play Life Prep at 3 p.m. Friday at Hays High. The Fire lost 55-7 to Hays High.
On the other side of the bracket, Manhattan beat Great Bend 51-41 and St. Thomas Aquinas earned a 59-40 win over Milwood, Okla.