Boards, free throws, help Rangers escapeDecember 15, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
FERDINAND — Forest Park’s girls had to work for it Tuesday night against Pocket Athletic Conference rival Boonville, but their two-game skid is over.
The Rangers (8-2, 4-2) slowly put things together in the second quarter to lead, 22-10, at halftime, but the Pioneers made sure the game was far from over when they went on a 9-0 run to start the third quarter. Forest Park adjusted again, and led by double figures toward the later minutes in the fourth quarter. But Boonville had its chances to tie the game.
However, the Rangers held tight, leading, 45-42, with 26.1 seconds left, and made some timely free throws to pull through at Buechler Arena. Forest Park finished 20-of-29 at the line, and came away with a 49-42 win.
“There with 30 seconds left, we just wanted to talk about how we wanted to defend (Boonville junior Alaysha) Brandenberger,” Rangers coach Tony Hasenour said. “We knew she was going to get the shot, one way or the other. So, we talked about how we wanted to pick her up, make sure we had one person that was always there ready to help, and try to make the shot that she got as difficult as possible.”
The Rangers limited Brandenberger to 10 points in the first half, but she came alive in the second half with 22 points in the final two quarters to finish with a game-high of 32.
Hasenour told his players at halftime that Brandenberger was rested and was going to be refreshed in the second half.
Brandenberger’s perimeter shooting came alive then — making three of her four threes in the final quarter, and all four in the latter half.
However, Forest Park sophomore Lydia Betz, who scored a team-high 13 points, made a pair of free throws in the clutch to put the Rangers ahead, 47-42, and Brandenberger’s shot afterward was wide right, helping Forest Park preserve its lead and make a couple more free throws to bring the game to its final score.
The Rangers scored 11 out of their 15 fourth quarter points from the charity stripe on Tuesday, and came up with some big rebounds throughout the night to help them find their way.
Hasenour told his players after the game that was never more proud of a defensive effort when his players allowed 30-plus points to an opponent.
“Last week at Tecumseh, we thought we had a really poor effort rebounding the basketball,” he said. “And we brought in some new drills and new emphasis on rebounding at those practices after the Tecumseh game. I thought we did a really good job at Heritage Hills of crashing the boards, and we told the girls, ‘We want to rebound violently. Just go get the thing,’ and I thought they responded well at Heritage Hills, and I thought they did a really good job tonight as well.”
The fifth-year coach told the Herald on Tuesday that it’s big to beat a team like Boonville and a player as talented as Brandenberger is, and that it was important to snap the two-game skid.
Hasenour said, though, that the team’s ball movement still isn’t where they want it to be, but they’ll talk again about ball movement Wednesday in practice. They’ll have one day to work on things before they go back at it Thursday at Washington, another PAC opponent.
“Washington is super-talented — they’re in that upper-echelon of PAC teams,” Hasenour said. “So, to go on the road up there, we know we have a tall order ahead of us. So, we’ll talk about things that Washington will do, and try to do, and hopefully, we can come up with a counter attack against that, and be ready to play on Thursday.”
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