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TMP sweeps Russell at home

By NICK McQUEEN
nmcqueen@dailynews.net

Particularly at this point in the schedule, an impressive victory couldn’t have come at a better time for the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls’ basketball team.

In what Monarch coach Rose McFarland called the most complete game her Monarchs had played all season, TMP got a little help from a cold-shooting night for visiting Russell in a 53-44 win.

Now, TMP’s third victory propels it into a loaded field this week at the annual Trojan Classic in Hillsboro. The Monarchs will face No. 2 seed Wamego (9-0) in Monday’s 3 p.m. first-round game.

“Our girls needed this,” McFarland said of her team, which moved to 3-6. “We had a couple games where we didn’t feel like we played very well. This was a good one for us at this time.”

It came against a Russell team that, at one time, was ranked in Class 3A and started the season 3-1.

The Broncos, though, fell to 6-4 after hitting just 18 of 59 shots (31 percent) in the former Kennedy Middle School gym.

Russell’s top inside players, senior Janna Schulte and sophomore Kyleigh Kasper managed just 11 points, despite combining for 10
offensive rebounds. The two combined to make 5 of 23 from the floor.

“They knew where they were,” McFarland said of her team’s defense on the inside duo. “The thing we didn’t execute very well was stopping the penetration. But at the end of the game, we did when we really needed it.”

The teams were in a see-saw battle through the first half before Russell senior Alex Ptacek was able to create some seperation. The slashing guard scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer that gave the Broncos a 15-10 lead. Then, Monarch guard Megan Koenigsman caught fire. The freshman nailed three straight 3s to end the half. That included a buzzer-beater that sent the Monarchs
into the locker room with a 23-20 lead at intermission.

“They chased her for a while, but we have some other good shooters,” McFarland said. “Everyone else stepped up tonight.”

Koenigsman’s four first-half 3s gave the Monarchs a lead they never relinquished. Then in the second half it was junior Kaylor Gottschalk who got it done. Gottschalk recorded the bulk of her nine-point, 10-rebound game in the third quarter where TMP opened up a six-point lead.

“The girls stepped up big,” McFarland said. “Still a little rough on the rebounds. We gave them a lot of second opportunities. Fortunately, they didn’t make as many as they could have.”

Russell’s shooting woes continued at the free-throw line as well, where the Broncos hit just 6 of 17. Meanwhile, TMP hit enough foul shots down the stretch to keep the lead, making 7 of 11 in the final minute. Koenigsman finished with 23 points, while Ptacek led
Russell with 12.

Senior Samantha Younie and sophomore Melissa Pfeifer added eight rebounds each for the Monarchs, who now turn their attention to a bracket in Hillsboro that features six ranked teams. Monday’s opponent, Wamego, is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A Division I.

“We just have to take care of what we need to take care of,” McFarland said. “Turnovers have been an issue. We’ll just have to take care of the basketball.”

Monarchs’ defense swarms Russell boys

It’s not often a team can give up 33 foul shots, but still only allow 23 points and earn a blowout victory. That’s exactly what happened, though, Friday for the TMP boys, as they stormed by Russell, 79-23, to move to 4-5.

The Monarhcs’ intensity early was far too much to overcome. By the end of the first quarter, Russell had 16 turnovers and TMP had put up 29 points, compared to Russell’s two.

“We played at a high level of intensity early in the game,” Monarch coach Joe Hertel said. “When you hit your first couple of buckets and make a couple steals, make some good stops or take the ball away, it kind of fuels the fire.”

That, and the hot hand for junior Kameron Schmidt. Schmidt caught fire in the first half with five 3s, and the Monarchs rolled. By halftime, TMP led 50-12. Ten of Russell’s points came at the foul line, the only negative to TMP’s game all night.

“I realize Russell is down a little bit, but I’m trying to look at the things that really didn’t have to do with the competition,” Hertel said. “I liked our energy and enthusiasm, and we really got after it.

“Other than the fact we made a lot of fouls, I really liked the way we played in the first half.”

By the end of the third, TMP led 72-24, but had sent Russell to the line for 31 foul shots. The fourth quarter was played under a running clock.

“It’s real hard to maintain that level of intensity in the second half, but we did some good things in the third quarter, and some young kids got to play.”

Russell (2-8) dropped its sixth straight. The 23 points were a season-low, but 10 more than the Broncos scored against TMP last season.

The Monarchs, the No. 6 seed, play Monday against No. 3 seed Holcomb, the No. 5 ranked team in Class 3A.

The tournament is “just tougher than nails,” Hertel said. “It’s going to be tough, but we’re not playing bad ball right now. If we show up there Monday with the enthusiasm, intensity, toughness and get-after-it we’ve had the last two games, I like our chances.”

Boys
TMP 79, Russell 23
RUSSELL (2-7)
Bachar 1-3 0-3 2, Gfeller 0-3 2-2 2, Holloway 2-8 5-9 9, Rourke 1-6 0-4 2, Swanson 0-0 0-0 0, Bryant 0-2 0-0 0, Donovan 0-2 4-10 4, Morris 0-1 1-2 1, Craig 0-2 1-2 1, Nichols 0-2 0-1 0, Beagley 0-0 0-0 0, Zvolanek 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 5-31 13-33 23.
TMP-MARIAN (4-5)
Kameron Schmidt 10-23 0-2 25, Max Megaffin 5-11 1-5 11, Jordan Gottschalk 6-7 1-2 13, Hoffman 2-3 1-1 6, Mayorga 1-3 0-0 2, Fouts 2-3 2-3 6, Vitztum 2-2 2-2 7, Schibi 1-2 0-0 2, Dreher 0-1 0-0 0, Schumacher 1-1 0-0 2, Ruder 0-1 1-2 1, Schippers 1-4 2-2 4, Flax 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 31-62 10-20 79.
Russell    2 10 9 2 — 23
TMP    29 21 22 7 — 79
3-point goals — Russell 0-8 (Bachar 0-1, Gfeller 0-1, Holloway 0-4, Bryant 0-1, Zvolanke 0-1); TMP 7-18 (Schmidt 5-11, Megaffin 0-3, Hoffman 1-1, Vitztum 1-1, Dreher 0-1, Ruder 0-1). Total fouls — Russell 19, TMP 25. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Bench, Russell.
Rebounds — Russell 25 (Holloway 4); TMP 43 (Gottschalk 11). Turnovers — Russell 34, TMP 20.

Girls
TMP 53, Russell 44
Russell (6-4)
Alex Ptacek 5-10 3-5 12, Wedel 4-7 1-2 9, Boxberger 3-14 0-0 6, Schulte 3-11 1-6 7, Kasper 2-12 0-0 4, Craven 0-1 0-2 0, Stierlen 0-2 1-2 1, S. Ptacek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals — 18-59 6-17 44.
TMP (3-6)
Megan Koenigsman 6-10 7-8 23, T. Younie 1-6 1-2 3, Gottschalk 4-8 1-2 9, M. Pfeifer 2-9 0-1 4, S. Younie 2-6 2-2 6, Koerner 2-7 1-3 6, Herbel 0-0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 1-3 0-0 2. Totals — 18-49 12-18 53.
Russell    8 12 11 13 — 44
TMP    10 13 14 16 — 53
3-point goals – Russell 2-12 (A. Ptacek 1-3, Wedel 0-1, Boxberger 1-6, Schulte 0-1, S. Ptacek 0-1); TMP 5-15 (Koenigsman 4-6, Pfeifer 0-5, Koerner 1-4). Total fouls — Russell 17, TMP 17. Fouled out — Schulte, Russell. Technical fouls — none.
Rebounds — Russell 39 (Kasper 11); TMP 41 (Gottschalk 10). Turnovers — Russell 12, TMP 15.