The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys basketball team, ranked sixth in Class 3A, was without its leading scorer for Tuesday night’s game against Smith Center at Al Billinger Fieldhouse. Monarch coach Bill Meagher learned Tuesday morning he would be without junior guard Jackson Schulte and his 18 points per game.
No worries. With Schulte ill with a virus, his Monarch teammates made up the slack, running away for a 59-29 MCL victory. With the Monarchs leading by more than 30 points starting the fourth quarter, the final eight minutes were played with a running clock. The Monarchs won their 12th straight after dropping their season opener.
“That’s what’s nice about our bench — next guy up,” Meagher said of playing without Schulte. “I thought the guys tonight did a great job.”
TMP led 11-0 before Smith Center got its first basket with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
“I was excited about the way they got out and guarded and attacked the basket right away,” Meagher said. “Our goal, at least in the first half, was to make it a transition game.”
Senior guards Brady Kreutzer and Ryan Stoecklein paced TMP with 12 points apiece. The Monarchs led 16-2 after the first quarter. Carson Jacobs, the team’s 6-foot-7 senior forward, delighted the crowd with a rim-rattling dunk on a follow shot in the second quarter, as TMP led 41-12 at the half.
Senior Trenton Colby led the Redmen (5-10) with 12 points.
Smith Center girls 59, TMP 48
The Smith Center girls, behind sophomore center Tallon Rentschler, dominated in the paint in their win over the Monarchs. Rentschler scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double as the Lady Red outrebounded TMP, 45-22.
“We just couldn’t keep them off the boards,” TMP coach Rose McFarland said. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds.”
TMP (5-9) jumped out to a fast start, leading 8-2 before Smith Center went on a 14-0 run for a 16-8 lead after the first eight minutes. The Lady Red took a 33-18 halftime advantage and led by as many as 17 points in the third before the Monarchs went on a 12-3 run to end the period to cut the deficit to single digits (40-32) entering the fourth.
“We did some good things, got steals off the press,” McFarland said.
Smith Center (9-5) started the final period on a 12-3 roll to lead by 17 points midway through the quarter. Rentschler scored eight points during that span, part of her 15 points in the final period.
“They just kept hitting shots inside,” McFarland said.
TMP closed within eight with just under a minute left but could get no closer.
Sophomore Emilee Lane scored 17 of her team-high 21 points in the second half for the Monarchs and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore Megan Hamel added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“She got more physical, got a lot more rebounds, was able to score in there,” McFarland said of Lane. “I was really pleased with her effort.”
The TMP boys and girls will travel to Norton on Friday for MCL action against the Bluejays.