Rangers pull away from Jeeps in final quarterJanuary 8, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
DUBOIS — Forest Park saw Northeast Dubois breathing down its neck at the end of the third quarter Tuesday night.
The Rangers (11-6) led for nearly the entirety of the game, save for senior Madison Cave’s bucket for the Jeeps in the opening quarter. Northeast Dubois (4-11) put Forest Park’s lead in jeopardy with an 8-0 run to close out the third quarter and a 32-27 score. However, Forest Park took command in the final quarter, ending the game on an 18-7 run for a 50-35 win.
“I think the girls realized that maybe we were letting an opportunity slip away here,” Rangers coach Tony Hasenour said. “We mentioned in practice yesterday that Dubois is going to be playing hard and playing scrappy the whole time, and if we don’t come with our best effort, we’re going to be in trouble, and I think they started to believe those words towards the end of the quarter, because Dubois had us on the ropes there. Another bucket or two, and we’d have been in serious trouble.”
Hasenour said Forest Park responded well and made some big shots. The Rangers had things go their way in the fourth quarter when that wasn’t always the case earlier. They put up multiple air balls on shots, but had no such problem in the final quarter. Forest Park drained a pair of 3-pointers to help create separation, and had eight triples total.
The Jeeps held Rangers senior Faith Zazzetti to three points during the first three quarters of the game. She doubled her scoring total in the fourth quarter, and finished with nine points altogether. Hasenour said the Rangers have stressed getting the seniors to put the team on their back a bit, and he praised her for stepping up in the fourth frame. Zazzetti finished third on the team in points behind sophomore Ali Welp’s 17 and senior Macie Zink’s 15.
“We had noticed all night that we had missed some entry passes into her,” Hasenour said of Zazzetti. “She was open a few times and we missed it, and we kind of addressed that and stressed that, and she was able to get some good looks.”
Jeeps coach Andy Chinn praised his team for never giving up Tuesday night. Forest Park went on a 10-0 run in the opening quarter and led 13-4 heading into the second stanza, but Northeast Dubois put together a 5-0 run after being in a 21-10 deficit and trimmed Forest Park’s lead to single digits at the half. Cave’s 3-pointer capped off a third quarter push that put the Jeeps in position to possibly best the Rangers for the first time since Jan. 6, 2015. Cave finished with a team-high 13 points, while sophomore Hadley Fuhrman had 11.
“We really competed tonight,” Chinn said. “I’m really proud of the way we played. We took care of the ball on offense, played hard on defense and made good decisions. That’s a great team we just played coached by a guy I really, really respect, and we had them on the ropes.”
Chinn said today’s practice would be more relaxed, as the Jeeps on Thursday visit Shoals for their first Blue Chip Conference game since an 82-23 win Dec. 3 against Washington Catholic. He added his players must get healthy for Thursday since both teams played a physical game on both ends of the floor Tuesday. Northeast Dubois is 2-1 in conference play, and has five Blue Chip games left on the docket this season.
“Tonight’s game meant a lot to these girls, and it showed on the floor with the way we competed,” he said. “We have to have that mentality moving forward Thursday night and the rest of the season.”
Hasenour stressed the importance of defense in his postgame interview Tuesday. He said the Rangers have sought to work on defensive rotations and boxing out on rebounds. Defense was their focus during the holiday break, and is also what they’ll work on today in practice. Forest Park is also about to pick up conference play again. The Rangers on Saturday will welcome Pocket Athletic Conference rival Pike Central, but will look to take down Jasper Thursday on their home floor before seeking to improve to 3-3 in conference play. A win for the Rangers on Thursday would snap a three-game skid against the Wildcats.
“(Senior Claire) Knies is tough as nails and can do everything on a court — shoot the three, post up, drive, everything you’d want in a basketball player,” Hasenour said. “(Senior Brooke) Nottingham is just an unbelievable 3-point shooter and ballhandler. So, we’ll have our hands full with those two, and then that doesn’t even mention the other weapons that they have. So, we’ll have to have a good team defensive effort and see if we can take care of business on Thursday night.”
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