HAYS, Kan. - Bill Meagher, a former TMP assistant, is the Monarch third head boys’ basketball coach since 1950. Al Billinger, whom the fieldhouse is named after, led the team for 35 years. Then, Joe Hertel coached for 33 seasons.
TMP defeated Oakley 61-33 in Hays on Friday, December 14, 2018. (Photo: Everett Royer, www.ksportsimages.com)
On Friday, Meagher had his home debut. TMP delivered a high-level effort and rolled over a solid Oakley team, 61-33.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “A school like this, a program like this, and a gym like this, and an opportunity like this, and kids like this - so I did have to pause for a minute before the game started, and smiled and I got a little tingles, and it was just kind of a special moment.”
The Monarchs had distinct advantages in height, athleticism, depth and used a furious pace. The game had a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“It was probably our most complete game,” Meagher said. “We have had some sparks of some different stuff, but tonight, it was nice to put it all together.”
TMP, with no returning starters from a state qualifying team from last winter, captured its fourth straight victory and moved to 4-2, 2-0 in MCL. Oakley is 3-3, 1-2 MCL.
“One of the advantages for us especially in our league is our bench, and if we can get into the other team’s bench then that’s a good strength for us,” Meagher said.
The Monarch boys have still never lost a home conference game since they joined the MCL. TMP has dropped just three regular season MCL games overall.
“We are unwilling to give that up until someone takes it from us, and that’s our kids’ mentality,” Meagher said of the Monarchs’ success in league. “Now, I am not disrespecting anybody in the league because there are some good teams in the league and some great coaches, but there are going to have to come in here and take it from us, and that’s what our goal is, is to make them earn that.”
Junior Carson Jacobs, a 6-foot-5 reserve, provided a lift with a team-high 12 points. The Monarchs led 18-8 after the first quarter as Jacobs had a pair of steals late in the quarter.
In the second quarter, Jacobs had six points and three rebounds as TMP led 37-13 at halftime. Oakley senior standout Kade Hemmert did not have a field goal until 6:50 left in the third quarter.
“I was really excited with his play,” Meagher said. “Came right out, put a spark in right away and everybody in the gym I think knew he was ready to go tonight and just was hard to handle for the other team.”
TMP had several highlight reel plays, especially involving speedy senior point guard Ryan Karlin. With five minutes left in the first half, junior Ethan Brummer grabbed a rebound and launched a perfectly placed long pass to Karlin, who scored a layup underneath the basket.
“We want to get up and down the floor as much as we can,” Meagher said.