Smart play, tough defense sends Rangers to win



FERDINAND — With about 25 seconds left in a game that had already been decided, something special was unfolding.

Forest Park senior girls basketball player Katelyn Englert hasn’t ever been one to worry about stats or how much playing time she gets in any given game. But in her final regular season home game, her teammates wanted to do everything in their power to get her one last bucket.

And after several shots rimmed in and out, Englert finally got a shot to fall as the bench exploded with raucous jubilation and she was mobbed by her teammates on the court.

Englert said the celebration was the perfect ending for her high school career.

“It felt really good when it finally went in and everyone started to cheer for me,” said Englert following the Rangers 49-14 victory over North Posey on Thursday in Ferdinand. “I know I have a lot of support behind me, it’s just the perfect way to end my last game.”

Her head coach Tony Hasenour couldn’t have agreed more: “(Katelyn’s) always smiling, she’s always happy and she’s always cheering other people up and lifting them up so for her to get a bucket there on the final thirty seconds of senior night was kind of the cherry on top of the night.”

There were a lot of things for the Rangers (11-12, 4-4) to be happy about after their victory in Thursday’s regular season finale.

First, off the turnovers — or more appropriately, the lack thereof.

It’s no secret that turnovers have been sort of an Achilles’ Heel for Forest Park this season. However, on Thursday evening they took care of the ball and finished with a season-low three turnovers.

“This is the game we wanted to have going into the postseason,” said Macie Zink who led the Rangers with 16 points. “I wish it would’ve happened earlier, but now is the perfect time. We all have confidence in ourselves to go into the postseason strong.”

Hasenour added: “We declared tonight ‘No Throwaway Thursday’. We know this is going to be a key heading into the postseason and I was glad to see the girls put a full game together of taking care of the basketball.”

While the Rangers were able to limit their own turnovers, they did a solid job of forcing North Posey to commit a plethora of them as the Vikings (1-20, 0-6) finished with 22 turnovers.

The defensive pressure showed early as Forest Park gave up just six points in the entire first half and only 14 points throughout the entire game — their second-best defensive effort of the season (12 against North Daviess).

“Defense is a huge part of winning,” Zink said. “Tonight we really focused on the defensive end and it showed.”

In terms of scoring, Forest Park nearly had every player get into the scoring column as nine of the 10 active players scored at least two points.

The Rangers also had three players finish in double-figures (Macie Zink with 16, Faith Zazzetti with 10, Ali Welp with 10) — it’s the first time Forest Park has finished with three players in double-digits since their 46-39 victory over Paoli on December 13.

With the regular season now all wrapped up, Forest Park will begin their full preparation for Evansville Mater Dei (12-10) as they’ll face the Wildcats in the opening game of their sectional next Tuesday.

The team will search to use their strong final game performance as motivation looking forward to the postseason.

“We’re just really pumped and super excited to head into the postseason,” Englert said. “We’re looking forward to see what we can do.”

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