Clutch free throws help TMP girls take opener
Clutch free throws and a solid defensive effort helped the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls basketball team start on a promising note, with the Monarchs pulling out a 37-33 victory against Life Prep in the first game of the Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shootout on Thursday at Hays High.
It was a tie game with under two minutes but the Monarchs hit four free throws over the last 1:42 to clinch it.
TMP finished 14 of 17 from the stripe while Life Prep was plagued by a 1-of-9 showing at the line.
TMP coach Rose McFarland liked the way her team battled against the size of Life Prep, which had four players over 6-foot, including starters Ann Mary Zachariah (6-2) and Aleksandra Duda (6-4).
“We were fighting in there,” McFarland said. “It was a pretty physical game at times. We just held on. The girls battled hard. I thought we played pretty good defense tonight.
“A year ago, we might not have won that game, but I thought the girls stepped up and finished it off.”
Junior forward Emilee Lane scored a hard-earned 18 points to pace the Monarchs. Lane hit the Monarchs’ only 3-pointer.
“Seems like every time she got the ball, they were shoving a little bit and double-teaming us down there,” McFarland said. “At times we had trouble keeping care of the ball. Just did what we needed to do. I thought all the girls stepped up. Megan (Hamel) had a big (shot) late. Stepped up and hit it with confidence.
“I’m pleased with how everybody played.”
TMP led 15-8 in the second quarter before Life Prep closed the half on a 9-0 run. The Monarchs went into the fourth with a 22-21 advantage.
The final frame featured seven lead changes. After buckets by Lane and Hamel gave the Monarchs a 33-30 lead, a 3-pointer from Raminta Gailiunaite tied it 33 with 2:33 left.
Jaci VonLintel’s free throw with 1:42 left gave the Monarchs the lead for good.
Protecting a one-point lead, TMP got a steal and Sophia Balthazar hit two throws with 42 seconds left to extend the Monarchs’ lead to three.
TMP then got another stop, and Hamel hit one of two foul shots to make it a two-possession game with 20 seconds left.
McFarland said the Monarchs will look to clean up turnovers moving forward.
“They were a tall team, and you got to learn to pass around somebody instead of trying to go over the top,” McFarland said. “They were long, and it hurt us the first half, and I thought the second half we did a better job. But that’s one thing we need to clean up is taking care of the basketball.”
TMP will play at Hugoton at 3 p.m. on Friday at HHS.
TMP GIRLS 37, LIFE PREP 33
Life Prep (0-1) — Zachariah 1 0-0 3, Tomaszuk 3 1-2 8, Gailiunaite 6 0-0 14, Duda 1 0-0 2, Lopes 1 0-3 2, Salas 2 0-2 4, Deodshar 0-0 0-0 0, Lopez 0-0 0-0 0, Lepkowska 0-0 0-2 0, Totals 14 1-9 33.
TMP (1-0) — Lane 6 5-6 18, Balthazor 1 4-4 6, Hamel 1 1-2 3, Allen 2 0-1 4, Yost 0-0 0-0 0, VonLintel 1 4-4 6. Totals 11 14-17 37.
3-point goals — Life Prep 4 (Gailunaite 2, Tomaszuk, Zachariah), TMP 1 (Lane). Total foul — Life Prep 18, TMP 9.