Dylan Werth helps TMP into the sub-state finals with big game against Phillipsburg

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
TMP's Dylan Werth scored 21 points in the Monarchs' 69-50 win in the sub-state semifinals vs. Phillipsburg on Friday in Norton.

NORTON — Dylan Werth is taking a solid sophomore season to another level at the best possible time for the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys. 

After a career-high 22 points in Tuesday's sub-state opener, Werth turned in a 21-point outing in Friday's 69-50 semifinal win over Phillipsburg in Norton.

The Panthers had no answer for the 6-foot-6 forward, who delivered the big game despite battling foul trouble. 

"He continues to just keep developing," TMP coach Bill Meagher said. "I really love to watch the way him and the other bigs interact with each other and play off each other. I thought our big group tonight was just outstanding."

The Monarchs (19-4) advanced to Saturday's Class 3A sub-state final against Minneapolis (15-5) at 5 p.m. in Norton. 

Meagher credited his guards for their willingness to keep feeding the ball to Werth inside. 

"I thought our guards were unselfish about it," Meagher said. "They turned down some shots that may have been good looks for them to get it to (Werth) and let him get the high-percentage shot. When you turn down a good shot to make it a great shot, that's a team-first move."

The Monarchs fought through foul trouble in the first half to take a 34-26 lead into the break. TMP was whistled for 11 fouls in the first half to Phillipsburg's three. 

"We had to sit guys that we wouldn't want to sit for extended minutes, but I thought the guys that came in did what they're supposed to do — next man up — and played really, really well," Meagher said. "... I thought the guys did a great job of keeping their heads, handling a little bit of adversity and finding a way to fight through it."

Werth scored the first two baskets of the second half and later had a 3-point play to help the Monarchs open up a 17-point lead (50-33). Phillipsburg was within 10 early in the fourth quarter but could get no closer. 

"It was nice to see them come out (of halftime) hot and ready to go," Meagher said of his Monarchs. "These guys are a hungry group and they want to continue and they want to keep playing together. I think it definitely showed in the second half that they weren't going to let this one go."

TMP senior standout Jackson Schulte was back for the Monarchs after being out with the flu for Tuesday's Beloit win. He scored 15 points Friday. 

"I thought his energy was good tonight," Meagher said. "We had to play him a lot of minutes because of foul trouble. We weren't necessarily planning that, but he did a great job. Fought all the way to the end and I was proud of his effort."

Sides scored a game-high 22 points in his last game as a Panther. 

"Ty is a special player and he did what we expected him to do," Meagher said. "Lucas (Lang) did an unbelievably good job on him, but he's a good player and that's what they do, especially in playoff time. 

"I thought guys guarded well all night long and did the best they could. I was pleased with our defensive effort, especially in the second half."

Minneapolis survived a test from Norton in the semis, rallying from a 13-point deficit to edge the Bluejays 53-50. 

Meagher said the Lions' aggressiveness and the way they pressure is what stands out the most about them. 

"I think in a lot of ways they look similar to us," Meagher said. "I think it's going to be a fun game of up-tempo basketball with a lot of aggressive play."

TMP's Jackson Schulte shoots a jumper during Friday's sub-state semifinal vs. Phillipsburg.
Phillipsburg's Ty Sides and TMP's Lucas Lang battle for a loose ball during Friday night's sub-state semifinal at Norton.