TMP girls basketball earns share of MCL title

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
TMP's Kyleigh Allen, left, and Hannah Garcia, pressure Plainville's Brady Bouchey during Tuesday's game at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
TMP's Megan Hamel gets set to attempt a layup on Tuesday against Plainville.
TMP coach Rose McFarland applauds her team as it gathers during a timeout on Tuesday against Plainville.

Winning a Mid-Continent League title is never an easy feat, but this one was particularly rewarding for the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls. 

The Monarchs wrapped up a share of the league title after cruising to a 75-24 win over Plainville on Tuesday night at Al Billinger Fieldhouse. TMP and Phillipsburg went 10-1 in the MCL slate to finish as co-champs. 

"I thought the league was tough from top to bottom last year, but I think the top (this year) is as tough as it's been for years," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "There's a lot of good teams in our league that have an opportunity to go on to state."

Since losing to Trego in overtime on Feb. 2, the Monarchs (17-3) have reeled off seven straight wins. 

"I'm real proud of the girls," McFarland said. "As tough as our league is, to come out tied for the league championship, that says a lot."

The Monarchs, 17-3 overall, kept their title hopes alive last Friday by pulling out a double-overtime 52-47 win against Norton. Their current win streak also features tough road wins at Smith Center and Phillipsburg. 

"You got to be ready every night," McFarland said. "I felt like our girls focused every game out. I thought we stepped up when we needed to."

Playing their third game in five days, Tuesday night's lopsided contest provided the Monarchs ample opportunity to rest their starters after TMP cruised to a 47-13 lead by halftime. TMP emptied the bench, playing 14 different girls. 

Sophia Balthazor hit five 3-pointers and led TMP with 20 points while Emilee Lane and Megan Hamel, added 18 and 16 points, respectively. 

TMP's Jaci VonLintel missed her third straight game since injuring her ankle in pre-game warmups before the Norton game. McFarland said VonLintel is expected to be back for the start of sub-state. 

The Monarchs will be either the second or third seed in the Norton sub-state, which will begin Monday. TMP will host its first-round game. 

"I feel like we've got a lot of momentum going into the postseason," McFarland said. "I feel like we're getting better and better each game out. I like our chances."