Rangers on point with record-setting spree of 3s

By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer

FERDINAND — When the first 3-pointer fell, it was just a relief.

When Forest Park hit the second and third triples, it felt like good execution.

But by the 13th, a 20-footer from the wing by Ashley Reckelhoff, it was just unfair.

“My coach kept telling me it was just my footwork,” Reckelhoff said. “I was falling backwards instead of following through. So once I got that, it just started flowing from there. I got my rhythm.”

Reckelhoff

She certainly did.

Reckelhoff headlined an offensive tour de force from Forest Park with a career-high 21 points as the Rangers eviscerated Loogootee 71-28 on Saturday night at Buechler Arena in Ferdinand. Reckelhoff and fellow senior Kereston Hochgesang combined for a clean 12-of-24 from beyond the arc as Forest Park (2-0) reached the 70-point mark for just the fifth time since the 2009-10 season. Not surprisingly, the Rangers are 5-0 in those contests.

Saturday, 39 of Forest Park’s points came from 3-point range, as Reckelhoff, Hochgesang and Madison Knies — who finished with six points — set a program single-game record with 13 three-pointers, smashing the old mark of nine. Reckelhoff also added her name to the record book individually, as her seven 3s tied Kellie Hobbs’ program mark for most treys in a game. The Rangers shot 10 percent better from 3-point distance (41 percent) than they did from the rest of the field (31 percent).

But the shooting clinic didn’t start right away. After the first quarter, Forest Park crawled to a five-point lead behind a shaky a 3-of-23 shooting performance. Hochgesang was able to sink two from 3-point range and the Ranger frontcourt chipped in four from the free throw line, but after one period, it felt like all roads pointed toward a defensive showdown.

Hochgesang

That lasted for all of 31 seconds in the second quarter as Reckelhoff connected for her first trey at the 7:29 mark. That sparked a 13-4 run for the Rangers as part of a 23-point quarter featuring six bombs from Reckelhoff and Hochgesang.

“I thought Ashley was going to get on track tonight, but once she did, man, she really heated up,” Ranger coach Marty Niehaus said. “It was fun to see both her and Kereston knocking them down tonight.”

“Whenever I’m on a roll, I don’t want to stop shooting,” Reckelhoff added. “It’s a great feeling that you have to fall back on, so if your (teammates) aren’t shooting as well, you know that you are.”

That hot streak continued through the break, with another 23-point quarter again highlighted by Reckelhoff, who missed just one triple in the second half.

Bolstering the hot shooting was Forest Park’s full-court press — led by point guard Mariah Morgan and her three steals — that helped contribute to Loogootee’s 21 turnovers, including eight in the second quarter. The Rangers entered the fourth with a comfortable 58-22 lead.

“We focused on (the trap) in practice (Friday),” Reckelhoff said. “And once we got the trap going, they all got messed up, which created offense for us.”

Between the constant on-ball pressure and the onslaught of 3s, the Rangers displayed an aggressive gameplan that Reckelhoff said they hope to make the norm.

“That’s definitely how we want to play,” she said. “We want to run and gun and then when we slow it down, we want to be able to have our outside shots.”

Hochgesang also earned a career-high in points with 19. Morgan finished with six points and five rebounds. Jordan Voges combined six points with three boards and Taylor Hopf added four points and three rebounds off the bench. The Rangers committed just nine turnovers, five of those coming in the fourth quarter as a majority of the starters rested on the sideline.

It’s been a varied but efficient offensive attack so far for the Rangers. Saturday’s 3-point barrage against Loogootee (1-1) occurred just two days after Lydia Lange led Forest Park with a 20-point, 13-rebound effort in which the Rangers shot just 3-10 from long range.

“I think that (Loogootee coach Chad Wade) watched Lydia go for 20 the other night against (Perry Central) and decided to concentrate on her, which gave the guards some good looks,” Niehaus said. “Having the ability to pose a threat both inside and outside is going to make it hard on opposing defenses to decide how to check us.”

It’s a welcome mixture so far, but the variety in offensive performances has Reckelhoff imagining a day when both inside and outside games can harmonize.

“We were just joking in the huddle, whenever we’re all on and the posts are on, we’re going to be hard to beat,” Reckelhoff said. “So we’re looking forward to that day when it happens. But it’s nice to have all those outside threats.”

Contact Joseph Fanelliat jfanelli@dcherald.com.




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