TMP girls dominate sub-state opener

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
TMP's Jaci VonLintel dribbles at the top of the key during Monday's sub-state opener vs. Russell at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
TMP's Kassidi Yost shoots inside during Monday's sub-state opener against Russell at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
TMP's Kyleigh Allen puts up a shot as Russell's Aniya Stierlen defends on Monday at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.

The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls couldn't have asked for a better start to the postseason, dominating in every facet in Monday's Class 3A sub-state opener against Russell. 

TMP led 19-6 at the end of the first quarter and surrendered just seven points the rest of the way en route to a 51-13 win at Al Billinger Fieldhouse. 

"I thought the girls came out real focused," TMP coach Rose McFarland said. "We got off to a really good start. We shot the ball well early, and I thought our defense was just top notch tonight."

The Monarchs will meet Goodland at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Norton in a sub-state semifinal matchup of 18-3 teams. Goodland advanced with a 54-20 win over Minneapolis on Monday. 

Russell (9-12) was held to just two field goals, getting their first bucket in the first quarter and last basket in the fourth. 

"We didn't really let them get to the paint much," McFarland saId. "When they got the ball inside, we had two bodies there defending them. I thought we did a really good job defensively, and that's one of the things we really talked about early."

The Monarchs knocked down open looks to start the game and also hurt the Broncos on the glass. 

"The girls, they wanted it and they went after the ball. We got some second opportunities and that always helps," McFarland said. 

TMP led 29-6 at halftime after a 10-0 second frame. The fourth quarter was played under a running clock after the Monarchs led 49-11 after three. 

Emilee Lane scored 15 points to lead the way while Jaci VonLintel added 12. Kyleigh Allen scored seven, Kassidi Yost and Megan Hamel had six each, and Sophia Balthazor finished with five. 

"We like to have balanced scoring all the way around and I felt like we had that tonight," McFarland said.

VonLintel showed no ill effects from an ankle injury that forced her to miss TMP's last three games. 

"When she came out after the first series, I asked her and she said she felt normal, and she looked like she did out on the floor," McFarland said. "I thought she played pretty good. I didn't want to play her too many minutes, but I thought she looked real strong."

The Monarchs will now turn their focus to Goodland. 

"They're very tall," McFarland said. "I think they have at least three players over 6-foot. And they have a good shooter and a good point guard. They play a lot of players so we really need to be on our A game.

"They're very good and they play in a very tough league. They've played a lot of good teams this year. But I like our chances, on a neutral court and all, too."

On the other side of the sub-state bracket, top-seeded Phillipsburg rolled to a 71-30 victory and No. 4-seeded Norton took a 44-21 win. The Bluejays and Panthers will meet in the semifinals in Norton on Thursday following the TMP-Goodland game.