PLAINVILLE — Fueled by a career night from Carson Jacobs and a 22-1 second-half run, the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys completed the last step in returning to Mid-Continent League supremacy on Tuesday night at Plainville.
Jacobs burned the Cardinals for a career-high 29 points, and TMP broke away late in the third quarter on the way to a 67-47 victory to clinch the outright MCL crown.
The Monarchs, 15-4 overall, wrapped the league slate with an 8-1 mark for their first MCL regular-season title since 2017. TMP also claimed the MCL Tournament title back in January.
"This was a big deal for us," TMP coach Bill Meagher said. "I think the regular-season league championship is more important the (MCL) tournament, because you can just get hot sometimes in tournaments. This means you were consistent night in and night out, on the road and at home, and you took care of business every outing you had. This was really important to us."
Jacobs, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, was unstoppable in the second half, scoring 22 after the break.
"Absolutely an animal," Meagher said. "He’s been doing that consistently now. I thought his patience was really good. In the first half, they were running two or three guys at him and he was kicking the ball. Then in the second half he was starting to see more opportunities to score and he just took over from the inside post and was really dominant."
Meagher credited his guards for continuing to feed Jacobs.
"Our guys love when Carson gets going for two reasons," Meagher said. "One, he’s really, really good. Two, they’re going to get easier shots, too, when they start drifting towards him.
"I love how unselfish our team is. They look for ways to get it to guys that are hot."
The Monarchs led 30-21 at halftime before Plainville opened the third quarter on a 12-4 run to creep within a point. The Cardinals were still within two points with a little over three minutes left in the third.
"We told our guys at halftime to expect them to make a run," Meagher said. "Coach (Chris) Drees is fantastic and their team is a good team. They were going to find a way to get back into the game.
"I said, ’You guys knew this was coming, now you have a choice whether to build it back or whether to drift away and make it a game.’ "
After that, the rout was on.
The Monarchs closed the frame on a 12-1 run before scoring the first 10 points of the fourth as the lead ballooned to 23 points.
"I think our pressure caused them some fatigue and we were finally able to get out on them and get a run," Meagher said.
Junior guard Jackson Schulte added 11 points for TMP. Plainville standout Jared Casey led the Cardinals with 24 points.
The Monarchs will close out the regular season on Thursday at Hutchinson-Trinity before opening the Beloit sub-state with a first-round home game against Phillipsburg at 7 p.m. Monday.
"Hutch-Trinity is fantastic," Meagher said. "We don’t have a lot of time to turn around with the scouting report and get everything ready. We’re going to go up there and play and see what happens as we start going toward postseason.
"Certainly, we’d like to continue to build and take steps every single game."
TMP GIRLS 67, PLAINVILLE 55
The TMP-Marian girls survived a 43-point night from Plainville star Aubree Dewey to close out the MCL slate on a strong note.
TMP trailed by as much as nine early but fought back to take a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter. TMP led 34-24 at halftime and remained in front throughout the second half to improve to 8-12 overall and 4-5 in league play.
Megan Hamel led TMP with 15 points, while Emilee Lane pulled down a whopping 20 rebounds.
Plainville dropped to 9-11 on the season.
TMP will close out the regular season at Hutch-Trinity on Thursday. The Monarchs will then host Russell in a first-round sub-state game at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Al Billinger Fieldhouse.