HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Across all classes in both the boys and girls state tournaments, 96 teams were playing for a shot at state title. Of those 96, just two made it to State despite suffering double-digit losses in the regular season. One of the two is advancing to the Final Four despite that fact.
Thomas More Prep-Marian, who less than two weeks ago sat with a 10-11 mark, won their fourth straight contest, a 73-51 beating of previously undefeated Maur Hill-Mount Academy.
TMP shot 67% from the field and 64% from deep in the 22 point win, advancing to the semifinals for the 7th time in school history.
The Monarchs opened the game by attempting 11 of their 33 shots for the game in the first, hitting six including going 3/4 from deep. They took a four point lead to the second quarter.
In the second, Zach Schwinn kept the Ravens in it, with he and Ryan Stoecklein trading threes for much of the quarter. Each player hit four deep balls in the first half, and TMP held a narrow 34-31 advantage at the break. Stoecklein, who didn't start due to a nagging ankle injury, was playing in his first game back after suiting up for just 6 games in the regular season.
The Monarchs kept their hot shooting up into the third, making it 9 treys made before the quarter ended with Ryan Karlin joining Stoecklin in the barrage, netting three of his own for the game. The Monarchs outscored MH-MA 16-7 in the third to increase their lead to 12.
They wouldn't lose the lead, hitting foul shot after foul shot, a total of 20 in the game on 24 attempts, in building the lead to as many as 23 ahead of the 73-51 final score.
Karlin led the way for TMP with 17 on 6/7 shooting, 3/4 from deep, following by Stoeckein's 14--all of which came in the first half. Schwinn was held to just 1 point after halftime after scoring 18 in keeping the Ravens in the game for much of the first half.
The loss is the first of the year for MH-MA, who sees their season end with a 22-1 overall mark. TMP improves to 14-11 on the year and will meet 4th seeded Girard in search of their first trip to the title game since winning it all in 2007.