Local teams compete at Forest Park TournamentDecember 29, 2020
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
FERDINAND — Tournament time demands adjustments. After taking an early 67-62 loss to Evansville Harrison in the Forest Park Tournament on Tuesday morning, Forest Park (2-2) bounced back and earned a convincing 63-48 victory over Borden.
The Rangers' resilience helped them clinch a spot in the fifth-place game at 2:45 p.m. this afternoon. Forest Park will face Christian Academy.
Before Forest Park made their fourth-quarter rally against Harrison, the Warriors dictated the pace in a critical third-quarter run. Harrison held a 48-37 lead at the end of the third frame.
The Rangers eventually cut the deficit to five with 9.5 seconds remaining, but the Warriors held on for the victory. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday marked Forest Park’s first game since Dec. 4.
“I thought our guys competed to the end,” Forest Park head coach David Welp said. “The run that hurt us was in the middle of the third quarter. They went on a big run, and we just didn’t slow them down at all. Given that they’re probably not in the best of shape right now, I thought our guys competed until the end.”
Harrison’s press caused some havoc throughout the game. The Rangers showed some discipline, but the Warriors’ athleticism reigned supreme in spurts.
The loss was tight, but it offered valuable lessons for the Rangers.
“We handled ourselves fairly well,” Welp said. “I’d like to see us do a little better job of taking care of the basketball. They’re long and lengthy. They’re a very athletic team. We’ll learn from this experience. We’ll grow. We’ll see how we handle adversity and how we handle a press later down the road in the season.”
A multi-faceted scoring attack helped the Rangers find balance. Three Forest Park players finished in double figures — junior Drew Howard scored a team-high 17 points, senior Blake Hagedorn contributed 16 points and senior Simon Jacob added 11 points. Harrison junior Jahni Summers led all scorers with 25 points.
“We can compete with good teams like Evansville Harrison,” Welp said. “We’ve got to do a better job of winning more 50-50 basketballs. With defensive rebounding, we’ve got to do a better job. When guys are bigger than us, we’ve got to do a better job of being a little more physical.”
Ultimately, the Rangers’ return to the court encouraged Welp.
“I’m happy that the guys got back out there,” he said. “They were able to come back from the quarantine and play. It’s important that kids are able to play basketball. I thought we handled ourselves well. We would like a better outcome.”
On the other side of the bracket, Northeast Dubois (2-4) eked out a 38-37 victory over Vincennes Lincoln on Tuesday morning. The Alices made a late run of their own, but the Jeeps’ defense won the day.
“We’re mainly a man-to-man team,” Northeast Dubois head coach Terry Friedman said. “We like to apply ball pressure as best we can. We like to be able to create off of our defense. It’s kind of the thing that drives our offense, so we really work hard on that in practice.”
Jeeps senior Logan Mehringer led the Jeeps with eight points in the win over Vincennes. Senior Dante Miller, junior Colby Pieper and sophomore Ty Kalb scored six points apiece.
In the semifinal round, Evansville North took a 59-40 victory over the Jeeps. Pieper contributed a team-high 13 points for Northeast Dubois.
Northeast Dubois will play North Knox at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon in the third-place game.
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