Rangers seeking new heights while honoring traditions

Herald File Photo
Junior Ali Welp (11) is a returner for Forest Park girls basketball after the Rangers graduated five seniors last year.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — As a new season looms across the horizon, the Forest Park girls basketball team finds itself in an intriguing situation. Because five seniors graduated, the Rangers are tasked with integrating an influx of young talent.

Kenlee Gehlhausen, Kennedy Sermersheim, Amber Theising, Faith Zazzetti and Macie Zink left their respective impacts on the program. During recent workouts and practices, Forest Park head coach Tony Hasenour prepared the Rangers for this year’s opportunities.

“We had a good mix of basketball skill, talent and leadership on last year’s team,” Hasenour said. “When those guys were working together and clicking, everything went well for us. I think the girls that are coming back this year saw that from last year’s squad. Even though we’ve got a pretty new team this year, I’m hoping they’re going to see the value behind coming together as one unit.”

Emma Gray and Linda Jacob represent Forest Park’s senior class. Two juniors, Grace Fleck and Ali Welp, will also take the court for the Rangers. Equipped with the coaching staff’s guidance, those upperclassmen aim to lead Forest Park.

“The coaches push us really hard to be our best,” Gray said. “I think that’s what really separates us from other teams. We push every single day.”

Six sophomores comprise the remainder of the roster: Amber Tretter, Danielle Eckert, Gabey Gray, Alivia Gehlhausen, Lydia Betz and Carley Begle. Because the majority of the team is young, Jacob took the initiative to assist her teammates.

“It’s very easy to tell someone what they’re doing wrong,” she said. “When they don’t know what you mean by it, it doesn’t help. If you tell them and also show them, it gives them a visual outlook on it. They can do it themselves and do it on the court.”

While the Rangers adjust to the unprecedented campaign, one constant remains solid — Hasenour’s desire for hustle and effort. The 1995 Forest Park graduate takes great pride in guiding the Rangers on and off the court.

“I bleed green and gold,” Hasenour said. “I do everything I can to keep the tradition alive. Girls basketball here has been very successful over the years. Our job is to keep that tradition rolling.”

Hasenour also recognized the Forest Park community’s athletic support. Indeed, feelings of gratitude for Indiana high school basketball permeate throughout the locker room.

“Every day, I realize how lucky and blessed I am to play my small part in this great tradition that we have here in the state,” Hasenour said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, a practice or a sectional game. It’s a neat thing to be a part of. I’m really proud of it.”

Forest Park will begin another chapter in a few short days. The Rangers open against Tell City at 7 p.m. at home on Thursday.

“Nobody wants to be the class, the year or the team that lets down the rest of the school and community,” Hasenour said. “We take it seriously. We’re working as hard as we can to maintain that.”




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