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SPOTLIGHT
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TMP swept at Phillipsburg

Published on -12/18/2013, 10:05 AM

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By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

PHILLIPSBURG --  When the shots weren't falling Tuesday night for the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball team, the defense had to work that much harder to stay even with future MCL foe Phillipsburg.

It was a case of too little, too late for the Monarchs in what ended up a 72-59 victory for the Panthers.

Had some of those shots fallen early, the story might have been a little different.

"I felt like we were pretty good defensively for the majority of three quarters, but the offense just sputtered," Monarch coach Joe Hertel said. "I can't wait to look at the tape. We had tons of good solid looks.

"We just have to convert some -- tough shooting night."

Still, the Monarchs were able to hit just enough early in a fast-paced defensive first half. Phillipsburg, coming off a 1-2 showing in its early-season tournament at Lincoln, is much like TMP in the fact it likes to push the tempo, but had similar problems finding the basket early on. The teams were knotted at 14 after one quarter, and TMP held a 27-26 advantage at halftime.

"We felt pretty confident going into haltime being down just one," said Panther coach Keith Sides, whose only returning starter, senior Grant Wickham, is out for at least another month after knee surgery last week. "The guys really showed that confidence coming out. Especially, coming off that tournament going 1-2 where we felt we could have won it."

That confidence led to shots falling for the Panthers, while the Monarchs' struggles continued, plus a big momentum swing.

With the score tied at 33 in the third quarter, Panther junior Sam Sage was fouled, and TMP junior Max Megaffin was whistled for a technical for contacting the backboard. Sage made four free throws, and the Panthers never trailed again.

"It is what it is," Hertel said. "I won't say it was the difference in the game, it was just one of those adversities that happens, particularly on the road and we didn't deal with it well."

From there the Monarch defense dwindled, and the Panthers caught fire. Phillipsburg (3-2) outscored the Monarchs 13-8 the rest of the third quarter to open a 50-38 lead.

"They're always tough posting up, running the flex offense," Sides said of TMP, which dropped to 1-3. "We ran the 1-3-1 against them a lot of the game. It really worked well for us they didn't shoot the ball as well as they normally do.

"We had to keep them off the boards, and we did a much better job of that in the second half."

Off the bench, Sam Sage led the Panthers with 20 points. He had nine at halftime. The Panthers put three in double figures as senior point guard Trey Ellis added 17 and senior Tristan Ratzlaff added 12. Phillipsburg, early on, has boasted a balanced scoring attack with five guys right around eight points per game.

"Sam Sage played excellent off the bench," Sides said. "He really shot the free throws well and he was aggressive to the hole.

"There are a lot of things we need to work on, but this is a good step for us."

In the fourth quarter, the Monarchs hit the panic button. During a near five-minute span, TMP had just five points, all by sophomore guard Peyton Hoffman. Meanwhile, Phillipsburg scored 11 points -- all at the foul line -- in that same stretch to widen the gap to 18.

"All three of our losses, we've had a period in the second half where if things don't go our way, and the other team spreads the margin just a little bit, we tend to get a little panicky," Hertel said. "We pressed offensively, hurried our shots, and changed our shots."

TMP finished 19 of 59 (32 percent) from the floor and 7 of 24 from 3-point range.

It wasn't until the final two minutes the shots started falling. Sophomore Jared Vitztum nailed four three-pointers in that stretch to finish with a team- and career-high 17 points.

The Panthers, though, ended up hitting 27 of 40 from the foul line as four Monarchs fouled out. Ellis was 9 of 12, Sam Sage 7 of 8 and Ratzlaff 6 of 10.

"Phillipsburg did a nice job of holding us at bay by making enough free throws to keep the pressure on," Hertel said. "I thought we'd be better offensively. I feel we should be consistently better scorers this season, but it didn't show tonight."

The Monarchs play host to Ellinwood on Friday in the former Kennedy Middle School gym, while Phillipsburg plays Friday and Saturday before the holiday break.

Panther girls pull away from Monarchs

Senior forward Mattison Dusin didn't have her usual double-figure night, but Phillipsburg had a balanced effort and earned a 47-32 victory over the Monarchs after leading by as much as 20. Six players scored at least seven points.

Junior guard Cassie Wells led the way with eight, all of which came in the first quarter as the Panthers pulled away for a 13-6 lead early, and never looked back. Phillipsburg (3-2) led 21-13 at halftime, then outscored the Monarchs 8-2 in the third quarter, and dropped the Monarchs to 1-3.

TMP mounted its biggest offensive threat in the fourth quarter and played even with the Panthers. Monarch freshman Megan Koenigsman had all of her game-high nine points in the final period.

Dusin, who scored in double figures in each of the Panthers' first four games (twice in the 20s), had seven points and nine rebounds for Phillipsburg.

Boys

Phillipsburg 72, TMP 59

TMP (1-3)

Jared Vitztum 5-11 2-2 17, Cameron Fouts 4-7 3-6 11, Schmidt 2-15 0-0 4, Megaffin 3-9 0-0 7, Mayorga 0-0 5-6 5, Gottschlak 1-4 2-2 4, Schibi 0-1 2-2 2, Hoffman 3-7 0-0 7, Flax 1-2 0-0 2, Dreher 0-1 0-0 0, Ruder 0-2 0-0 0. Totals -- 19-59 14-18 59

PHILLIPSBURG (3-2)

Sam Sage 6-12 7-8 20, Trey Ellis 4-7 9-12 17, Tristan Ratzlaff 3-6 6-10 12, Chestnut 2-5 0-0 4, St. Sage 3-9 2-4 8, Crist 3-4 2-4 8, Tweedy 1-1 0-0 2, Kellerman 0-2 1-2 1. Totals -- 22-46 27-40 72.

TMP 14 13 11 21 -- 59

Phillipsburg 14 12 24 22 -- 72

3-point goals -- TMP 7-24 (Schimdt 0-8, Megaffin 1-5, Vitztum 5-8, Hoffman 1-2, Ruder 0-1); Phillipsburg 1-13 (Ellis 0-1, Ratzlaff 0-2, St. Sage 0-6, Sa. Sage 1-2, Kellerman 0-2). Total fouls --  TMP 32, Phillipsburg 17. Fouled out --  Schmidt, Megaffin, Mayorga, Hoffman, TMP. Technical fouls --  Megaffin, TMP.

Rebounds -- TMP 32 (Gottschalk 7); Phillipsburg 38 (Ratzlaff 11). Turnovers -- TMP 23, Phillipsburg 23.

Girls

Phillipsburg 47, TMP 32

TMP (1-3)

Koenigsman 3-5 3-4 9, Gottschalk 2-4 1-2 5, Pfeifer 1-10 1-2 3, S. Younie 3-8 0-1 6, T. Younie 0-3 0-0 0, Koerner 2-6 2-4 6, Herbel 0-2 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0-1 0-0 0, Dewitt 0-1 1-2 1, Applequist 1-2 0-0 2. Totals --  12-42 9-16 32.

PHILLIPSBURG (3-2)

Wells 4-6 0-2 S. Wilkison 3-8 1-4 7, Frantz 3-7 0-0 7, Gower 1-4 0-0 2, Dusin 3-7 0-0 7, D. Wilkison 0-1 0-0 0, Keeten 1-3 0-0 2, Bartels 3-4 1-3 7, Swanson 2-4 2-2 7. Totals --  19-43 5-15 47

TMP 6 7 2 17 -- 32

Phillipsburg 13 8 8 18 --  47

3-point goals -- TMP 0-9 (T. Younie 0-1, Pfeifer 0-5, Koerner 0-2, Applequist 0-1); Phillipsburg 2-8 (Wells 0-1, S. Wilkison 0-4, Frantz 1-2, Swanson 1-1). Total fouls --  TMP 11, Phillipsburg 17. Fouled out --  none.

Rebounds -- TMP 27 (Pfeifer 4, Koerner 4); Phillipsburg 37 (Dusin 9). Turnovers -- TMP 22, Phillipsburg 23.

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