Jacob steps up to help Rangers roll

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Forest Park senior Linda Jacob notched seven points to help Forest Park run away from Pocket Athletic Conference rival Tell City, 53-17, on Thursday. Jacob is seeing an expanded role for Forest Park this year after the Rangers graduated five seniors in 2020.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — Forest Park coach Tony Hasenour knows it won’t be easy for the Rangers (1-0, 1-0) to duplicate last year’s 18-8 season that ended with a sectional runner-up season.

So far, so good, though. The Rangers cruised to a 53-17 victory in their season opener Thursday at home against Pocket Athletic Conference foe Tell City. They got off to a 25-0 run before junior Victoria Weatherholt put the Marksmen on the board with a pair of free throws just before two minutes remaining in the first half.

"I thought everybody came in, gave us some valuable minutes, valuable time and (I'm) very happy with how the game went tonight," Hasenour said.

The Rangers have now won every season opener dating back to the 2005-06 season. They ran away with this one despite having two players in quarantine and having graduated five seniors from last year.

“They were a great class and had great accomplishments, but with that being said, we’ve got a fair number of varsity players returning this year that aren’t pleased with how last year ended,” Hasenour said.

One of those returning players is senior Linda Jacob, one of two seniors on the team along with Emma Gray. With the likes of Faith Zazzetti and Macie Zink having graduated, more is being asked of Jacob this year, who started at center in Thursday’s season opener against Tell City, scoring seven points. The Rangers counted on her to wear many hats in terms of rebounding, scoring and defense.

“Her attitude’s been great this year,” Hasenour said. “Not that she had a bad attitude in the past, but she was kind of quiet in the past, and she’s definitely come out of her shell this a little bit this year — a more vocal leader in practice and in drills. And I’ve noticed a few times where she’s pulled a younger player off to the side to make a slight correction here or there. Those are things as a coach you love to see because that’s the stuff that’s going to build from year-to-year.”

Hasenour felt Jacob had to rebound well, convert good looks underneath and stay out of foul trouble to be successful on Thursday, and he liked what he saw.

"If Linda played like she did tonight every game, we're going to be in real good shape, and she's going to be a real nice player for us this year," he said. "Every loose ball she was going for, she got several big rebounds, she's a real good leaper and she got real high on some of those jumps and ripped them down for us. So, that was good to see."

"I was just glad to be here, and glad I could be able to play," Jacob said. "So, I was trying to go as hard as I can, and I think everyone else was, too."

Jacob is coming off the heels of helping Forest Park making it to semi-state in girls soccer. Hasenour believes success breeds success, and hopes what Forest Park’s girls did in the fall in soccer and cross country carry over to basketball season. Jacob's experience on the soccer field is helping her out now for basketball season.

“Me and my soccer girls, we learned a lot of leadership skills,” she said. “I learned how to take lead and guide everyone who’s new — and just to bring the energy. I learned how to bring energy to the team. I’m using what I learned from soccer and bringing it to this team, and it seems to be going pretty well.”

Jacob doesn’t feel a lot of pressure as one of two seniors on the team and trying to be a leader. She feels the bigger concern is some her teammates being quarantined.

“Our biggest concern is just getting everybody to understand what they’re doing — know their job and help them as much as you can on the court and off the court,” she said.

Jacob and her Forest Park teammates will enjoy a layoff before being expected to return Nov. 12 to host Springs Valley.

"We're excited with we're at right now, but no coach is ever satisfied," Hasenour said. "So, we'll go back and look at the film. Before watching that, I know that we had some defensive positioning lapses that caused us to have some fouls that maybe we shouldn't have had. So, those will be some things we'll address, and we'll need to make sure we're taking care of the basketball next week."




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