Without standout Jackson Schulte, Monarchs still storm past Beloit in sub-state opener
The Monarch boys have done their best to take things in stride when playing shorthanded at different times throughout the season.
So when TMP learned it would be without senior standout Jackson Schulte for Tuesday's sub-state opener against Beloit, TMP coach Bill Meagher didn't get a sense of panic from his squad.
Instead, the Monarchs handled their business with ease, opening the postseason with a 63-35 win over Beloit at Al Billinger Fieldhouse in the first round of Class 3A sub-state.
Schulte has been sick since last Friday with the flu. The Monarchs (18-4) hope to get him back for Friday's 8 p.m. sub-state semifinal vs. Phillipsburg (10-11) in Norton.
"One of the things with this season is we're used to adversity; we've had all sorts of it," Meagher said. "For us, we just looked at the guys and said, 'This is the room we've got, this is the circumstances,' and then found a way to go out there (and play well)."
Senior guard Lucas Lang and sophomore forward Dylan Werth picked up the scoring slack, putting up 22 points each for the Monarchs, who had just nine players available. They were also without reserves Kenton Ginther and Hayden Brown.
"I thought Lucas showed incredible leadership, and took on some of the offensive (load) in the first half," Meagher said. "Dylan did a great job of being effective inside the post area, and I thought the rest of the guys got the ball in the right places and attacked."
Lang hit six 3s while Werth gave the Trojans fits inside.
"I thought that this was one of best ones (Werth) has played, and that shouldn't surprise you because he's a sophomore and he continues to grow tougher and grow up, really," Meagher said. "I thought tonight was a dominant performance and we were looking for that. We just want him to continue to keep working."
TMP jumped out to a 14-3 lead and led 18-9 at the end of the first quarter. Beloit trimmed the deficit to four midway through the second quarter but TMP answered with a 12-1 run to take a 35-20 lead into halftime.
"I think the smoothness of finally figuring out who's on the floor and playing together kicked in," Meagher said. "I just thought guys were really unselfish and got the ball up the floor and it led to good attacks. I thought we rebounded the ball really well tonight in that stretch and that helped us as well."
TMP built a 30-point lead by the end of the third quarter and the fourth frame was played under a continuous clock.
The Monarchs had a brief scare in the second half when Lang took a hard foul and landed awkwardly on the floor. But he popped right back up, hit two free throws and remained in the game.
"I'd actually ran from the bench, because the way he came down, I thought it was a serious deal. And he pops right up, doesn't want to come out of the game," Meagher said. "I thought he showed a lot of toughness, and that's part of the reason why he's a leader."
Phillipsburg kept their season alive with a 48-39 win over Goodland on Tuesday to set up an MCL matchup with TMP in the sub-state semis. TMP took a 57-44 road win over the Panthers in the regular season.
"Phillipsburg's a good program, well-coached (by Keith Sides)," Meagher said. "They're going to fight incredibly hard just like everybody else not to hang up the jerseys. (Ty Sides) is as good as anybody out there and their other players are really good players as well.
"If we don't show up ready to play, have a good scouting report in our minds and play incredibly hard, we could lose that game. We need to be ready to go and prepared for them."
Beloit, which beat TMP in the sub-state final last season, ended the year 5-13. Bryce Beisner led the Trojans with 10 points.
On the other side of the sub-state bracket, Minneapolis beat Russell 74-50 on Tuesday and Norton took a 70-59 win over Colby.