Uebelhor leads the way in Ranger routJanuary 11, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
FERDINAND — The past seven games haven’t been easy for Forest Park junior guard Isaac Uebelhor.
After being a key contributor for the Rangers last season and the beginning of this year, Uebelhor had to miss a significant chunk of time due to a nagging injury.
So when he finally heard his name called in the starting lineup for the first time in over a month, it’s safe to say that he was excited.
“It was super hard to be out that long, I was just going crazy sitting on the bench,” said Uebelhor who led Forest Park with 18 points in the Rangers 68-44 victory over conference foe South Spencer on Friday evening in Ferdinand. “As soon as I got out there I just wanted to give it my all because you never know when it could be your last game.”
From the opening tipoff, Uebelhor lit a fire under the Rangers as he was driving and darting up and down the court looking to bring any kind of an edge he possibly could.
Forest Park head coach David Welp was excited to see the return of Uebelhor but he was even more excited to see that he looked like the same player he was before the injury.
“I just saw that he was himself,” Welp said. “He’s explosive and he’s so quick and athletic, he showed that tonight on the defensive side of the ball especially.”
The game started out with a lot of fast-paced plays and back-and-forth action as neither team gave up much of a lead. Forest Park (7-6, 1-1) jumped out to a 7-5 lead after an early three-from Reid Steffe and Uebelhor’s first bucket but South Spencer fired back with two three-pointers from Jace Kelly.
The Rangers ended the quarter on a high note as Curt Hopf knocked down two free-throws and Uebelhor drove through traffic for a layup shortly before the buzzer sounded to make it 15-11 Forest Park at the end of the first.
Forest Park started to get the fans amped up in the second quarter as Uebelhor started to perform some cuts and drives to get to the basket but the big hurrah came when Hopf threw down a monster jam at the 4:40 mark to make it 21-13 Rangers over the Rebels (5-6, 1-2).
Back-to-back shots from Uebelhor and Simon Jacob pushed Forest Park’s lead to double-digits and the Rangers kept up the pace the remainder of the quarter as they led 30-17 at the halftime break.
What was the message in the locker room at halftime?
“The message was just hold on, keep our foot on the pedal and keep scoring,” Uebelhor said.
The Rangers took that “keep scoring” mantra to heart as they ended up knocking out one of their highest scoring quarters of the season as they outscored the Rebels 25-10.
Forest Park scored the first 12 points of the quarter as Drew Howard started to knock down some shots and Uebelhor continued to show his strengths.
Later in the quarter, the bench started to get things going as the Rangers continued to open their lead. Aaron Hurst, who normally is in the starting lineup, finished with eight points and four rebounds while Garrett Betz, just hours after being named Forest Park’s homecoming king, finished with a career-high nine points.
“It’s huge when you can have guys contribute off the bench and not miss a beat,” Welp said. “When those guys come in, we’re able to continue to run our offense, play solid hard-nosed defense and push the basketball in transition. We want to be able to push the pace and you have to have multiple guys to be able to do that.”
The fourth quarter was more of the same for the Rangers as they were able to finish strong en route to a 68-44 win over the visiting Rebels.
Isaac Uebelhor led the way with a near triple-double as he finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Curt Hopf had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Simon Jacob, Garrett Betz, Aaron Hurst, Reid Steffe and Drew Howard all finished with six or more points. Jace Kelly led the Rebels with 17 points (nine points from the three-point line).
The Rangers will be back in action tonight against North Posey in Poseyville in another Pocket Athletic Conference battle.
Welp is hoping his team can continue to build momentum off of this victory moving forward.
“We’ve got some momentum on our side,” Welp said. “If we continue to get back on defense and get deflections and steals that get us into our transition offense, we’ll take it.”
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