Rangers rally to win in double overtime

Drew Howard

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — The Forest Park boys basketball team simply refused to lose on Tuesday night. They not only overcame a 16-point deficit, but they created late turnovers and hit clutch shots to force two extra periods of play against Boonville. In a game where almost anything could (and did) happen, the Rangers (13-8) were able to dig deep and find the plays they needed to top the Pioneers 61-57 in double overtime.

“They’re just guys who like to compete,” said Rangers coach David Welp. “Our guys tonight did not want to lose. They did a good job of battling every possession. In the fourth quarter, we really got the ball moving and got the ball out in transition. We also shared the ball really well. They just executed better in the fourth quarter and overtime.”

The comeback started with sophomore guard Drew Howard scoring the last five points in the third quarter that whittled the Pioneers’ (8-12) lead to 11. Junior forward Simon Jacob added to the effort with the first fourth quarter score plus an and-one play shortly after that cut the lead to eight. Howard and senior guard Isaac Uebehlor extended the run to 19-2 with Uebelhor finishing an and-one play to give the Rangers a one-point lead. Sophomore guard Cooper Uebelhor added to the lead with a late three, but senior forward Nick Smith dropped in one more score to tie it up at 41-all. The Rangers lost it on their ensuing possession with seven seconds left, but forced a clutch turnover to give themselves one last shot at the basket. The attempt missed the mark and drew up overtime.

Isaac Uebelhor

Junior guard Ryan Smith and senior guard Hunter Bruce initiated a 6-1 run for a two-possession lead. Yet sophomore forward Landon Nalley, who had been quiet up to that point, found a driving lane inside, and Howard added two more free throws to make it a three-point game. Then junior forward Wade Leonard tied up Bruce and forced a jump ball with the possession going to the Rangers. Isaac Uebelhor was able to find Howard on the perimeter, who drained three with 15.3 seconds left that tied it again at 49-49 and forced the second overtime.

This time, it was the Rangers who put on the run. Isaac Uebelhor completed two straight and-one plays, and Howard added four more points with a drive and two free throws drawn from a technical foul on Smith for the 59-55 lead. Junior guard Maddux Bruner scooped in a final Pioneers bucket, but Isaac Uebelhor got the final layup and rebound the Rangers needed to put an ending on the wild affair.

Howard scored 22 points, while Isaac Uebelhor finished with 18. Ryan Smith led the Pioneers with 18, Bruce totaled 17. Nick Smith had 11 rebounds to go with four points.

“It was great,” said Isaac Uebehlor about finishing Tuesday night’s marathon. “We were down and we just kept fighting. We just had the attitude (that) we weren’t going to lose. We kept fighting until the end and got it done.”

“It was a great win for us,” added Howard. “We were down there at the end, we had to fight to come back, but it’s a great win for us.”

The Rangers’ spirits were sky-high after finishing such a tough game against the Pioneers. Being able to rely on their conditioning and making the right decisions when the chips were down has the team believing they can weather a similar storm should they find themselves in a similar situation in the postseason

Simon Jacob

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” said Howard. “It’s a close game. Sectionals are going to be a bunch of close games (and) packed and loud. It’s going to prepare us for sectionals in the long run.”

“We worked together tonight,” added Isaac Uebelhor. “Going into sectional it’s going to give us a little more confidence, and we’ll be ready to go.”

The Rangers are back 7:30 p.m. Saturday when they host Pocket Athletic Conference rival Pike Central (1-16, 0-6).




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