Looking back at the Rangers' 2018-19 season

Herald File Photo
Drew Howard had a breakout season this past year for the Forest Park boys basketball team as a freshman. While he impressed with his scoring numbers as well as his assists and rebounds, what maybe was the most impressive was his work ethic and constant determination to improve his game.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

With the 2018-19 boys basketball season officially over, it’s time to take a look back at what the five area boys basketball teams accomplished this past season and what’s next for them.

This is the third part of a five-part discussion series with the five area boys basketball coaches and their respective programs.

Next up is Forest Park head coach David Welp. The Rangers are coming off of a 15-10 campaign that saw several key wins as well as several growing pains and learning moments throughout the season. Here’s a brief discussion with Welp about Curt Hopf’s continued growth, the youth on the Rangers squad and what Welp himself learned the most during his first year as a high school varsity head basketball coach.

  • On sophomore forward Curt Hopf (16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, IBCA small school All-State selection) and where he’s at right now and what’s next for his game.

“Every day at practice he’s one of our hardest working players — he constantly works on his craft, he’s worked hard to become the player that he is today. Overall, he has become an exceptional team player for us that opposing teams have to plan for night in and night out. As he continues to make improvements, he’ll only become a bigger threat and teams will have to send two or three guys out on him. We’re very impressed with his progress so far — for Curt, the sky is the limit.”

  • On the senior class (Reid Steffe, Garret Jochem, Elliott Rothgerber, Garrett Betz, Aaron Hurst) and what they meant to the success of the Ranger basketball program and what can next season’s senior class learn from them.

“This year’s senior class led by example. They were leaders both on and off the court. They were clutch performers, and when we needed someone to come up with a defensive stop, they were often able to take up that challenge. I’m very proud of how they handled themselves.”

  • On Drew Howard (8.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and the impact he made for the program right away as a freshman and what the next step is for him moving forward.

“The most impressive thing about Drew was the performance he had in the sectional against Perry Central — he put the team on his shoulders, he led us in that game and hit critical shots in the third and fourth quarters. As a freshman, he took on the crucial role of point guard. He made sure we were in sets or in our motion offense, and ensured we were in a rhythm. As the season wore on, Drew continued to improve — his shot, his ability to attack the rim relentlessly, and even if he got blocked, he stayed with it. Drew always persevered and was fearless.”

  • On his first season as a head varsity basketball coach and what he feels he learned the most and how he can take lessons from this season going forward.

“I learned a tremendous amount over the last season. The experience both on and off the court helped me learn and grow as a coach. First of all, there is an unbelievable amount of planning, and there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making the program run smoothly. The in game experience was invaluable — making quick decisions and changes to the game plan due to unexpected injuries, lack of execution, opponent strategies, etc. Communication with your players is key, and I found individual player meetings to be a great opportunity to clearly define roles and expectations. I plan to continue this next season. I look forward to working with future team members and helping them to become, not only better basketball players, but better young men.”




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