TMP boys fight off Trego; Golden Eagles outlast TMP girls in overtime

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News

A ranked and vastly-improved Trego squad made the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys earn everything they got, but the Monarchs answered the challenge. 

TMP's Jackson Schulte drives against Trego's Gunner Wilson on Tuesday at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
TMP's Lucas Lang shoots a 3-pointer on Tuesday against Trego.
Trego's Lili Shubert brings the ball up the floor on Tuesday against TMP at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.

TMP senior standout Jackson Schulte delivered a game-high 24 points and the Monarchs held off the Golden Eagles down the stretch, notching a 51-42 victory on Tuesday at Al Billinger Fieldhouse. 

"We knew this would be like this tonight," TMP coach Bill Meagher said. "Trego is such a well-coached program (Sean Dreiling). Their kids are so tough, they play so hard.  We knew it was going to be like this, so for our guys to be able to fight through that and find a way to win through some adversity, I thought they did a great job."

Schulte keyed a fast start for the Monarchs with nine first-quarter points. He had eight points in the fourth quarter, including a 6-for-6 showing at the foul line, to help put the Golden Eagles away. 

"I liked how he let the game come to him a little bit," Meagher said. "We've been pushing him to get to the rim a lot more. He's picked up some charges early, so he kind of gets a little tentative around that. But I think tonight he did a great job of reading the defense and attacking where they let him go."

TMP (10-4, 4-1 MCL) led 18-9 after Kade Harris' buzzer-beating layup to end the first frame. The Monarchs went up 11 early in the second quarter before Trego, ranked No. 10 in 2A in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll, used a 12-3 run to make it 24-21 at halftime. 

"We allowed the tempo to go the way they wanted and get comfortable," Meagher said. "We have to continue to make the pace of the game what we want it to be. 

"Tonight we played more of their style of play and more of their pace. In the future, if we want to play in the games we want to play in, we have to do a better job of that."

The Golden Eagles scored the first bucket of the second half to creep within a point, but TMP's Lucas Lang answered with a 3-pointer. The Monarchs led by as much as nine in the third quarter and took a 38-33 lead into the fourth. 

Trego (10-4, 4-2 MCL) closed to within four with just under four minutes left but would get no closer. Jace Wentling's layup off a Lang assist pushed the lead to six with about 2 minutes left and TMP closed the game out at the foul line. 

Wentling also came up with a couple key rebounds down the stretch. 

"His motor is awesome," Meagher said. "What we asked him to do was guard Charlie Russell all night long. To be able to still have energy at the end, to get a big-time couple rebounds for us, just shows the kind of motor he has."

Both teams saw their top post players battle foul trouble. TMP 6-foot-6 sophomore Dylan Werth fouled out with just under five minutes left, and Russell, a 6-foot-4 junior, picked up his fifth foul with 3:18 remaining. 

Werth and Russell each finished with 11 points. 

"It would have been fun to watch those two guys battle more tonight," Meagher said. 

Trego girls 39, TMP 32, OT 

Down three heading to the fourth quarter, the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls pitched a shutout in the final frame, but that wasn't enough to overtake Trego in Tuesday's defensive showdown. 

The Monarchs mustered up three points in the fourth to get it to overtime, but the Golden Eagles outscored TMP 10-3 in the extra session. 

"It's just felt like we were on a treadmill on offense," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "You look up, and you're like, 'Man, how are we not further behind?'

"But then we dug our way back. We just never could really get in a rhythm on offense."

TMP trailed 29-26 after three quarters. After several opportunities to tie or take the lead, the Monarchs finally got it knotted up on a Sophia Balthazor layup with 3:35 left. 

The Monarchs had a chance to win it in the final seconds but turned it over with 1.5 seconds left in regulation. 

"A lot of times we'll get kind of stale and stagnant on offense, and our defense has been letting up as well," Trego coach Shelby Crawford said. "Tonight our defense never let up. We did the little things to beat a good team tonight."

Emma Day ended the long scoring drought for Trego with a layup about a minute into the extra session, and Trego went 8 of 11 at the foul line in OT to seal it. 

"We felt the momentum swing just with one bucket," Crawford said. "In that type of game, one bucket makes all the difference, and we were able to hit free throws at the end. (Day) did a great job of getting us started, on the defensive side with a steal, and then a layup."

Trego led 12-4 at the end of the first quarter as TMP struggled from the field, missing 10 of its first 12 shots. Caroline Brungardt scored the first bucket of the second frame to give the Golden Eagles their biggest lead of the game at 12.

"We had shots at the beginning, good-looking shots, but they just weren't falling," McFarland said. "... They just played tight tonight, offensively."

TMP (10-3, 4-1 MCL) put together a 12-1 run to take a 17-16 lead after three free throws from Kassidi Yost. Trego, ranked No. 8 in 2A in the KBCA poll, answered with 7-0 run and led 22-16 at the break.

Megan Hamel opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and 3-point play to fuel a 7-0 run that put TMP in front 23-22, but Trego closed the quarter with a 7-3 spurt. 

The Golden Eagles concentrated their defensive efforts on containing TMP junior forward Emilee Lane, who scored a career-high 26 points in TMP's 47-40 win over Trego on Jan. 21 in the MCL Tournament. Lane was held to three points on Tuesday. 

"First game we played them, we didn't do a good job rebounding, we didn't do a good job defending the inside," Crawford said. "Tonight we did a good job on both of those, and that was the big difference for us."

McFarland agreed.

"I thought they did a really good job of guarding (Lane)," McFarland said. "They were double-teaming her. We had other opportunities, other looks. The ball just didn't fall. 

"We didn't get a lot of second chances. (Trego) did a really good on the boards."

Balthazor led TMP with 12 points while Lili Shubert had 10 for Trego. 

The TMP teams will play at Smith Center on Friday.