Rangers snap five-game win streak

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Drew Howard (14) notched 10 points for Forest Park in Friday’s 78-51 loss to South Spencer. The Rangers could not win their sixth game in a row.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — What started off as a close game turned out to be anything but when Forest Park dropped a 78-51 loss to South Spencer on Friday, failing to win its sixth game in a row.

The Rangers (6-3, 3-1) engaged in a back-and-forth contest early on with their Pocket Athletic Conference rival, holding a 12-11 lead with a few minutes to go in the opening quarter of play. However, the Rebels rode their perimeter shooting early Friday evening, and it turned into a trend into a trend throughout the night — they made seven of their nine threes in the first half. Yet, wasn’t the only problem the Rangers encountered.

South Spencer took the lead from Forest Park in the first quarter, and never looked back. The Rebels ended the opening quarter on a 12-0 run, as a couple of late turnovers on back-to-back possessions pushed the Rangers into a double digit deficit, and the problems only expanded from there.

The Rebels ran it as high as a 19-0 run where the Rangers trailed, 30-12. Forest Park allowed some offensive rebounds that enabled Rebels senior Jace Kelly, who had a game-high 19 points, to make a three for a third chance bucket. Forest Park put an end to South Spencer’s run when senior Simon Jacob’s bucket at the rim brought it to 30-14.

"They're a very long and athletic team," Rangers coach David Welp said of the Rebels. "I thought they did a very good job of just controlling the pace of the game — (it was) where how they wanted to play. I thought that run — that really hurt us. We were unable to take care of the basketball, we were unable to hit some shots during that run and I thought that was by far the turning point of the game."

Forest Park had established a trend during its five game win streak when it held opponents to under 50 points in each of the first four games that it won, but the Rebels held a 44-23 advantage at halftime in what was the Rangers’ largest margin of defeat this season.

"They are a very athletic team," Welp said. "They were able to penetrate into the middle of our defense and we were collapsing on the help side, and they were able to kick out for many open shots. And they we were able to knock a lot of jumpers down tonight. We got to do a better job of keeping the ball out of the paint — they were able to get dribble penetration too many for open set shots, and that really busted the game open. On the defensive rebounding, we just got to continue to be more physical. We weren't physical enough at times, and they were able to kick out for wide open set shots again."

Shots in the second half weren’t always falling for the Rangers, and the Rebels only expanded their lead, as Forest Park fought to avoid a 30-point deficit, though South Spencer led by at least 30 points multiple times in the fourth quarter. The Rangers avoided a 30-point loss when freshman Reid Howard drilled a three as time winded down in the fourth quarter for the final points of the game.

Welp said the Rangers will learn and grow from this, and he's hoping they'll come back more hungry, but they get to go right back at it on Saturday when they visit fellow PAC foe North Posey.

"We talk every day about having a next play mentality, and after the game, we got to have a next game mentality," he said. "We got to move on from this. We will learn and grow from this at a later date — hopefully this coming week, but now we got to move on, we got to focus on North Posey. The Vikings are a very tough team, they're 6-3 currently (an overtime win Friday put them at 7-3), and they will be a tough challenge down there in Poseyville."




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