Rangers rattle off Senior Night winFebruary 25, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
FERDINAND — Forest Park’s regular season is in the books after rolling off a 56-38 win against Pocket Athletic Conference rival Gibson Southern Tuesday on Senior Night.
The Rangers (15-8, 5-3) found themselves in a tight game for much of the way before pulling away in the second half, winning their third straight game and fourth in their last five overall.
Isaac Uebelhor has been a regular starter for the Rangers, but bench players Logan Englert and Evan Tretter got time towards the end of the game as Forest Park subbed out its starters, giving Englert and Tretter their moment in their last-ever home game.
“It’s fun to just take an opportunity and take advantage of it, make the most of it,” Tretter said.
“It meant a lot,” Englert said. “Playing in this gym for four years, it meant a lot. (I) got a lot of memories in there.”
Uebelhor found himself injury-riddled his junior year, but has managed to stay healthy as a senior. Uebelhor and his teammates saw early deficits and multiple tied scores in the first half before holding tight to create separation down the stretch. He felt the dedication he’s put into the program has paid off.
Coach David Welp appreciates getting to coach these seniors for the last four years, both as an assistant and these past two years as the head coach.
“Whether they play a lot or they don’t play at all, I appreciate what they bring to our program,” Welp said. “They’re outstanding young men, and I know that they’re going to go be very successful after high school.”
Welp was unhappy with his team after Saturday’s performance in spite of getting a 57-49 win against PAC foe Pike Central. He felt the Rangers lacked a sense of urgency and didn’t play for four quarters. However, that changed on Tuesday.
“I thought our guys bought into playing four quarters and playing very tough four quarters,” he said. “(You) see that on the defensive side of the basketball, especially in the second half when we limited them to 16 points in a half, and I thought our guys bought into playing team defense. We still had a few breakdowns, but we limited those breakdowns on the defensive side of the basketball. I thought our defense really helped our offense get out in transition. We got some loose balls, some deflections and some steals, and we were able to get out in transition. I thought that helped us, as well.”
“I thought we played better as a team,” Uebelhor said. “We got after it on the defensive end and the defense always leads to offense. So, that just helped us out a lot.”
The Rangers got off to a 5-4 lead, but the Titans went on a 6-0 run, forcing Welp to take a timeout. They then trailed, 14-9, at one point before going on a 5-0 run to tie it. Forest Park hung with Gibson Southern, retaking the lead, 19-16, off a 3-pointer from junior Wade Leonard.
The Titans held tight, as sophomore Carson Brindle proved tough to stop, scoring 11 points in the first half, but the Rangers grinded it out, holding Brindle to a single bucket in the second half as he finished with 13. Leonard drained one more three right before the buzzer to bring it to a 27-22 lead at the half. He finished with 11.
Gibson Southern rallied from a 29-22 deficit to go on a 5-0 run, forcing a Forest Park timeout. The Rangers held a 36-33 lead before going on a 5-0 run themselves to end the quarter at 41-33. They hustled after loose balls and pushed the ball up the court in both halves.
Sophomore Drew Howard took over, helping Forest Park grab its largest lead of the evening with its first double-digit lead, 45-35, by sinking both free throws with 5:58 to go in the fourth quarter. Howard also notched a couple of more buckets to expand the lead and the Titans could never close the gap. Howard finished with a game-high 15 points. Junior Simon Jacob scored 13, joining Howard and Leonard in double digits.
Forest Park now has a layoff until March 3 at Huntinburg Memorial Gymnasium when it gets its rematch with PAC foe South Spencer in the sectional opener. The Rebels squeaked out a 61-58 overtime win Jan. 17 against the Rangers. Welp called it a great game, said the Rebels made a few more plays than the Rangers did, and now is hoping the Rangers can be the ones to make more plays.
“We were without Wade Leonard,” Welp said. “So, I think adding him is going to be a difference. He brings a sense of intensity on the defensive side of the basketball, but he also did really well tonight shooting the basketball. That’s a difference. I just think it’s going to be a fun high school basketball game.”
“It was on the road and now it’s going to be even playing fields and we’re going to be hyped up and ready to go,” Uebelhor said.
For more photos from the game, click here.
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