TMP girls fall to Phillipsburg in sub-state final

Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls basketball team took advantage of early foul trouble by Phillipsburg’s point guard, sophomore Taryn Sides, the last time the two teams played. The Panther standout avoided picking up early fouls in Saturday’s rematch at the sub-state finals of the class 3A sub-state in Norton, and Sides led the way for Phillipsburg, which held off TMP for a 68-61 win.

The Panther girls, ranked No. 7 in 3A, are back at state after making the season finale for the first time in school history last year. Phillipsburg (20-2), will play at Hugoton (22-1) in Monday’s quarterfinals. The winner advances to Thursday’s semifinals in Hutchinson.

TMP (19-4), which was seeking to make it back to state for the first time since 2018, led 7-6 early before Phillipsburg took the lead and never trailed after that. The Panthers were helped by a call that went their way in the second quarter, with Sides escaping her third foul. Sides drove the lane and collided with Monarch junior guard Megan Hamel, and the official ruled a blocking foul on Hamel and not a charging call. In the teams’ last meeting, Sides picked up her third foul in the second quarter and her fourth in the third and finished with 14 points as the Monarchs won 44-32.

“That could have been a turning point there,” TMP coach Rose McFarland said. “It didn’t go our way, went their way.”

Sides led Phillipsburg on Saturday with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

“She played really good,” McFarland said. “They took her out for a few minutes and we were kind of making a little run and they put her back in.”

The Panthers were up 16-12 after the first quarter and 32-29 at halftime. The Monarchs, who trailed 52-46 entering the final period, got as close as four points twice in the fourth, including with under a minute left, but the Panthers made five free throws, including four from Sides.

“They stepped up and hit some big shots,” McFarland said. “They hit from the outside and I thought their posts were tough inside.”

TMP placed four players in double figures, led by junior Emilee Lane’s 21 points. Senior Kyleigh Allen added 14 points in her final game, while Hamel and sophomore Jaci VonLintel — who made the start for injured junior Kassidi Yost — both scored 10.

McFarland said the Monarchs missed the 5-foot-9 Yost, who injured her ankle early in Thursday’s semifinal win over Goodland. She had 6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in the first game against Phillipsburg.

“She plays really good defense and she’s a really good rebounder,” McFarland said. “I feel like Kass has really come on the last few weeks. That hurts when you lose a starter. I thought the other girls stepped up. We were playing tough even though we didn’t have her in there.”

McFarland returns four starters and VonLintel, this year’s super sub off the bench. However, she will miss Allen.

“She’s a tough player, just works so hard,” McFarland said. “I feel bad for her, her last game. She’s been a great leader all year. I would take a kid like her on my team any day.”

McFarland returned all five starters from last year’s 10-13 squad this season. She hopes for continued improvement.

“As much as they’ve grown from last year to this year, I hope they keep improving,” McFarland said. “It’s a tough way to lose, but thankful we were able to play.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected sports, McFarland was grateful just to have a season this year.

“At the beginning of the year, we didn’t even know if we were going to have a basketball season,” McFarland said. “I’m just thankful we had a season, and the girls were able to experience this. It could have gone the other way. I wouldn’t have guessed we would have a full schedule.

“The girls, I’m real proud of them,” she added. “They had a great year. We’re disappointed, but Phillipsburg played an outstanding game, as well.”