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TMP defeats Lady Trojans to win first place

It’s not a bad idea to assume that when things look too good to be true, they are.

In the title game of the Trojan Classic Saturday night in Hillsboro, the Lady Trojans played arguably their best quarter against a good, solid Thomas More Prep Lady Monarch team.

The Trojans got fast breaks for easy points; the guards were able to get the ball inside to star Dakota Kaufman forcing contested shots, while shooting a scalding 64 percent from the field themselves.

Winners of seven straight en route to the Classic’s final, the Trojans, who are 8-4, were unable to keep the top-seeded Monarchs, 10-2, off the offensive glass which proved costly. They lost 45-38.

“Offensive rebounds, that’s where we lost the game,” Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert said.

“A lot of those came, they just got them and it was two points — easy points. It’s one of those things where you take away half of those, we win the ball game. ”

That was easier said than done, especially against a team with good height at virtually every position, more athleticism, and more strength.

The Monarchs played that to the tune of 11 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds, despite Hillsboro narrowly edging TMP overall, 25-24.

Tena Loewen pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go along with two points.

Kaufman scored a game-high 22 points — 14 in the first half — but TMP slowed her on the rebounds, allowing just six, two offensively.

The game had all the makings of a waltz, with the Trojans hitting their first six shots to open a 14-4 lead with an 8-0 run.

Loewen again matched Hillsboro’s largest lead at 10 with just more than a minute left in the first quarter.

TMP didn’t stay down for long, though, as star Kaylee Hoffman’s fast break sparked a 12-2 run, which knotted the game at 18. Loewen kept Hoffman in check, holding her to a subpar 4-for-12 shooting, but she still dished out nine assists.

Rachel Jacobs was the one who inflicted the most damage with a double double, scoring a team-high 18 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Monarchs’ run eventually turned into an 18-4 outburst, and after Kaufman’s basket made it 20-18, the Trojans were facing an uphill climb the remainder of the game. TMP went on to outscore the Trojans 16-4 the second quarter, taking a 24-20 lead into halftime, even with shooting a bitter 13 percent from outside and 39 the first half.

Part of that came from the Monarchs slowing down Hillsboro’s offensive movement the second quarter.

The Trojans struggled to make good cuts and TMP closed in on their passing lanes.

By the time Allie Faul scored the Trojans’ first basket in nearly five minutes, Hillsboro was trailing by eight points in the third quarter. The Trojans clawed their way back to within three twice in the second half, but no closer.

A pair of free throws from Jacobs late in the game gave the Monarchs their largest lead of the game, 45-36.

“When we have better movement, we’re a lot better team,” Hiebert said. “The girls played really well. I’m excited about this team.”

The Trojans will host Hoisington at 6 p.m. Saturday in a makeup game that was postponed because of inclement weather.

Lyons will come to town on Tuesday.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2010

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