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TMP boys fall to ranked Holcomb




HILLSBORO -- Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' basketball coach Joe Hertel liked the word "inconsistent" to describe his team's play against Holcomb on Monday in the first round of the Trojan Classic, hosted by Hillsboro High School.

There were stretches where TMP looked great while there were others when TMP looked greatly outmatched. In the end, this resulted in a 60-43 loss to the Longhorns.

"Tonight, I just thought we were inconsistent," Hertel said. "We would make a mini run. The problem was we made three or four stops in a row and yet we couldn't convert on the offensive end. Offense was stagnant. I just didn't think we were sharp tonight. I thought our defense was a little sleepy at times."

Holcomb (8-2), ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, raced out to a 9-0 lead before TMP (4-6) found the scoreboard with a basket at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter. A short run toward the end of the quarter by TMP gave the Longhorns a 13-9 lead heading into the second quarter.

TMP's offense started to pick it up before halftime, scoring 15 points in the second quarter. The real success came at the foul line, where the Monarchs were 7 of 8 before the break. TMP trailed by seven points late in the half before a 3-pointer by Kameron Schmidt and jumper by Cameron Fouts made it 29-24 in favor of Holcomb at the midway point.

"We shot ourselves in the foot there in the second quarter," Holcomb coach Chad Novacek said. "We had some unforced turnovers, which led to easy points for TMP. So second half I thought we did a better job of being more solid with the ball and taking care of the basketball and executing our offense."

Instead of continuing its push, TMP was outworked by Holcomb in the third quarter. The Monarchs were outscored 17-5, their lone field goal coming from Jordan Gottschalk in the opening minutes of the half. Holcomb took a commanding 46-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

A basket, foul and free throw by Gottschalk was followed by a Fouts field goal to open the final quarter, temporarily making it a contest at 46-34. Then a 3-pointer by Holcomb's Conner VanCleave, a 6-foot-5 freshman, sparked a quick 7-0 run by the Longhorns and TMP never threatened again.

"We had some good spots, but we were inconsistent," Hertel said.

"A lot of shots we normally make, we didn't make tonight. You got to be able to maintain and hang in or it tends to get away at the end, which is kind of what happened."

Fouts led TMP with 10 points, the only Monarch in double figures.

Schmidt and Ryan Mayorga each added nine points. Holcomb was led by Heath Tucker's 22 points, including a 10 of 10 performance from the foul line.

As a team, Holcomb was 16 of 17 from the line, compared to 14 of 20 for the Monarchs.

Dalton Gottschalk added 13 more points for the Longhorns, while VanCleave finished with 11.

TMP will be off until Thursday at 4:30 p.m., when it returns to Hillsboro to play the loser of today's Hillsboro-Goodland matchup.

"We just were not sharp tonight all around," Hertel said. "It's not our best play and I think there are some individuals that didn't have it tonight. We fell, but we will be back here on Thursday. See if we can't line it up and take another crack at it."