Thomas More Prep has quite a basketball tradition, but this season has been sort of a struggle for both it's boys and girls teams. The good thing is, the way the Kansas playoff system is set up, get hot at the right time, and a rough regular season is forgotten.
The Lady Monarchs entered Friday's game with just six wins. Plainville came in with nine wins, but reeling with injuries, including the loss of starting point guard Hannah Friend.
TMP would take advantage of the inexperience at point guard. Lady Monarch starting point Heather Ruder turned 8 first half steals into easy points and then sprinkled in a couple of threes to post 19 first half points. Thomas More Prep raced out to a 34-7 first half lead.
Plainville came out of the break with a lot more fire, but they just couldn't crack the Lady Monarch defense. Most of the TMP starters just watch the forth quarter as the Lady Monarchs cruised to a 54-27 victory.
"I don't even know how many points (Ruder) had, but she just played within herself, not trying to do to much," said Lady Monarchs head coach Rose McFarland, whose team has now won six of its last eight games. "This team is really coming together, so we are looking forward to the post season."
In the boys game, Plainville came into the game with 14 wins, and TMP just five. But unlike the girls game, the start of the game did not look like it is going to go the way of the home team.
The Cardinals raced out to any early double digit lead behind 19 first half points from Hadley Gillium. But despite the big numbers from their star, Plainville let the Monarchs hang around and TMP had the lead at a manageable six points at the half.
In the second half, Thomas More prep was able to do two things that ended up being the difference in the game, turn up the defensive pressure and take Gillium out of the game. The combination allowed the Monarchs to get easy points in transition and run away with the game in the second half. TMP got 18 points from the big guy Jordan Gottschalk, Ryan Mayorga added 14, Shane Zimmerman 13 and Tanner Unrein 10, as they shock Plainville 73-57.
Gillium finished with 23 for the Cardinals.
"I'm not one who measures the success of a season by the record," said Monarch head coach Joe Hertel. "I like to measure it by did we beat anyone we were not supposed to. Tonight is the first one of those we've gotten this year and I'm pretty proud of the kids for that."