TMP basketball sweeps Smith Center
Coming off a tough win at home, the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys basketball team traveled to Smith Center Friday night to play the Redmen, winless on the season. The Monarchs coasted to a 68-32 win, just what Coach Bill Meagher was hoping for from his players.
“We told them if we are a team that can compete for a championship we would be able to take care of business early and play at our level and not down to their level,” Meagher said of the Mid-Continent League matchup. “That’s not being disrespectful to their program; they’re young, playing a lot of young guys … doing the right things to build a program. I was hoping our guys as a team had the maturity to play what we think we think we can play at, regardless of who we’re playing.”
The Monarchs led 15-9 after the first quarter and expanded the lead to 40-13 at the break, closing the first half with a 15-0 run. TMP (11-4 overall, 5-1 MCL) outscored Smith Center (0-14, 0-7) by 14 points in the third. With a continuous clock used in the final eight minutes, Meagher was able to go deep into his bench.
“For us, getting some experience for those guys, an opportunity to get better, was good for all of us to get a look at,” Meagher said. “Guys came in, played with a lot of energy.”
Sophomore forward Dylan Werth led TMP with 14 points and senior Jackson Schulte added 11 points.
“One of the things is, we almost quit talking about those guys because their performance is so consistent it’s kind of a normal thing,” Meagher said. “If we want to be a good team we’ve got to have that sort of thing. It’s really nice to count on those guys to do what they do night in and night out.”
Senior guard Griffin Kugler scored a game-high 17 points for Smith Center.
TMP girls 64, Smith Center 52
TMP lost in overtime at home earlier in the week and faced a tough road test Friday against a team that beat the Monarchs on their home court in the MCL tournament. A defensive adjustment and better execution on offense helped the Monarchs claim a 64-52 victory.
“Our league, any given night you’re playing some tough competition,” TMP coach Rose McFarland said.
TMP led 18-16 after the first quarter, but Smith Center doubled the score on the Monarchs in the second period, 18-9, to take a 34-27 halftime lead. Junior Tallon Rentschler, Smith Center’s 6-0 center, scored 11 first-half points and sophomore guard Maile Hrabe added 10 points for the Lady Red.
In the second half, the Monarchs’ switch to a zone defense finally started to slow down Smith Center, which also was hurt by Rentschler getting into foul trouble. TMP outscored Smith Center 19-9 in the third quarter to take a 46-43 lead.
“I think we caught them a little off guard,” McFarland said of the zone, which she switched to midway through the second quarter. “Normally, we play mostly man-to-man.”
The Monarchs were hurt by 14 turnovers in the first half but took better care of the ball after intermission.
“We were trying to force it inside,” McFarland said. “We weren’t moving the ball from one side to the other. We started rotating the ball better, being more patient.”
TMP (11-3, 5-1) scored the first eight points in the fourth quarter to take a double-digit lead at 54-43. Smith Center (11-4, 4-3) got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Sophomore Jaci VonLintel led the Monarchs with 18 points off the bench. Senior Kyleigh Allen added 14 points and juniors Megan Hamel and Emilee Lane each scored 12 points.
Rentschler finished with a game-high 19 points for Smith Center before fouling out.
TMP is home Monday for a makeup game against Oakley on Senior Night before traveling to Russell on Tuesday.