Thomas More Prep-Marian girls break away from Ellis early; TMP boys hold on for win
Monarch boys hand Railers first loss
Everything was clicking for the Monarch girls in the first half on Friday against rival Ellis, and they had a big lead to show for it.
Thomas More Prep-Marian hurt the Railroaders inside and out, building a 21-point advantage by halftime.
TMP maintained its grip on the game in the second half, notching a comfortable 56-38 win at Al Billinger Fieldhouse to move to 7-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Mid-Continent League.
"We came out intense and focused. We had a really good first half," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "Second half, I thought we got a little bit sloppy and complacent. First half, we were executing, hitting from the inside, outside. I thought we played really strong defense the first half."
The Monarchs were led by a career-high 17 points from senior Kyleigh Allen, who was all over the floor.
"She plays tough defense, she gets in the passing lanes, gets some steals, she gets some rebounds, falling on the floor, getting up, running," McFarland said. "She's a tough kid."
Juniors Sophia Balthazor and Megan Hamel were also sharp from the perimeter. They combined for five 3-pointers, with Balthazor scoring 13 and Hamel 10.
"Megan doesn't score a lot of points; she's usually dishing and taking care of the basketball, but tonight she was able to step up and get some looks," McFarland said.
The Monarchs were getting good shots every trip down the floor in the first half. Hamel scored seven straight at the end of the first quarter to make it 15-6. TMP then scored the first nine points of the second quarter, with seven points coming from Balthazor, en route to a 31-10 halftime lead.
Ellis standout Grace Eck got going in the second half to help bring the Railers within 15 at the end of third quarter, but Ellis could get no closer. The senior guard finished with a game-high 22 points.
Junior Emilee Lane and sophomore Jaci VonLintel chipped in six points each for the Monarchs.
McFarland also credited the defense of junior Kassidi Yost.
"Kass, I thought she did a great job on defense," McFarland said. "I had her playing on Emily Eck. She had to work pretty hard on defense."
Ellis dropped to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the MCL.
The Monarchs will play at home on Tuesday night in MCL Tournament, awaiting the winner of Saturday's game between Smith Center and Plainville. TMP is the No. 3 seed for the tournament.
TMP boys 59, Ellis 56
Ellis standout Brady Frickey put pressure on the Monarchs with a red-hot shooting performance down the stretch, but TMP made just enough plays to hand the Railers their first loss.
Frickey hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, with his last trey making it a one-point game with 5.5 seconds left.
Protecting the one-point lead, the Monarchs were able to run it down to 1.9 seconds before the Railers got to Lucas Lang for the foul. Lang hit two free throws and Frickey's desperation heave from three-quarters length of the court didn't make it to the basket.
"It's an outstanding program and an outstanding team," TMP coach BIll Meagher said of Ellis. "Our guys were in for a war tonight, and that's what it was."
TMP (6-2, 3-1 MCL) led 36-28 at halftime and had a 42-32 lead in the third but couldn't break away from the Railers (7-1, 3-1 MCL).
Frickey's third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter brought Ellis within two with under three minutes left. Ellis then had three possessions to tie or take the lead but couldn't capitalize.
"We were a little shaky (defensively) coming to that point, and the guys kind of drew the line and said, 'We're going to make stops," Meagher said.
The Monarchs, who bounced back from Tuesday's 60-54 loss at Hoxie, were led by sophomore forward Dylan Werth's 16 points.
"We thought we had an advantage tonight with our bigs inside," Meagher said. "Now credit to (the Railers), they kind of mitigated that a little bit. But I thought our guards were really unselfish and looked really hard to get the posts the ball, and I thought the post did a great job, when they didn't have something, of getting it back out to the guards."
Senior guards Jackson Schulte and Lang added 11 and nine, respectively, for TMP.
Frickey scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half.
"Outstanding players make outstanding plays," Meagher said of Frickey. "He is a great player. It doesn't surprise me he hit shots down the stretch like that. He's a competitor and a warrior. I'm just glad that we were able to answer back."
Frickey was joined in double figures by Tyson Jimenez's 12 and Daniel Eck's 11. Samuel Honas had nine points to round out the scoring for the Railers.
The Monarchs were set for a quick turnaround, facing Smith Center at 3 p.m. Saturday at Stockton in the first round of the MCL Tournament.