With new faces galore, Ranger vets will leadOctober 24, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
If you spend just a few minutes with the Forest Park girls basketball team, you’ll realize rather quickly what the theme is for this upcoming season — stay positive and work hard.
The Rangers will have a little bit of a different look this season with a smaller roster and only four returning varsity players from the 2017-18 season. But for head coach Tony Hasenour and the rest of the team, the goals are the same as they always are.
“Every year our goal is to advance as far as we can in the postseason and that’s no different this year,” Hasenour said. “We’ve got a young roster but we’re hoping by the end of the season that we’re in a position to make some noise.”
Forest Park has just one senior on this year’s roster (Katelyn Englert) and four underclassmen who are expected to see some varsity time almost immediately.
While the Rangers do have an abundance of younger players, they do also return three starters from last year’s team that won 15 games. Juniors Faith Zazzetti, Macie Zink and Kenlee Gehlhausen all started for the majority of the year last season and have been varsity players since their freshman year of high school. The only other returning varsity player from last season is fellow junior Kennedy Sermersheim.
The experienced trio will look to lead by example for their younger counterparts and help them get used to the varsity level of basketball quicker and easier.
“We know that we’re going to have to be the leaders since we have the most experience,” said Zazzetti, who led the way in scoring among returning players with 8.2 points per game in 2017-18. “We know the younger players are going to have to step up and we just have to push them and show them the ropes.”
Zink added: “Leadership is going to be a big key since we’re going to have to step up and take the freshmen under our wings. That will help us bond as a team and it can maybe even help us go further in the postseason.”
What’s one way to get the younger players ready for the faster pace of varsity basketball?
“We just have to get in their grill and get in their face during practice because other teams aren’t going to care or give them a break just because they’re freshmen,” Zink said. “We have to practice as hard as we play and start getting confidence in their heads. They’re going to be nervous at first but if we show them that we believe in them, I think it’ll help them out.”
In terms of the team’s style of play, Hasenour said that will mostly depend on what sets their opponent is running and how they match up both athletically and physically.
Basically, Hasenour is open to using whatever style gives the Rangers the best chance to win on any given night.
“We’re not a team that uses any particular system but instead we try to see what we have and what gives us the best opportunity to win,” Hasenour said. “There might be nights where it’s half court man-to-man and nights where it’s zone or nights where it’s full court press — we just have to see what we can do that gives us the best chance to win.”
In terms of the Rangers schedule, it’s basically the same as last year with just a few minor date changes.
Forest Park will once again open up their season against Tell City (next Thursday, November 1) and start the year with two home games against the Marksmen and Springs Valley on November 8.
The Rangers longest road trip will be from November 15 through December 6 as they play five straight road games including three against Pocket Athletic conference foes — Tecumseh, Southridge and Heritage Hills. Forest Park will also once again play in the Toby Yoho Classic at Eastern Greene following Christmas on December 28 and December 29.
While the Rangers haven’t had much time to practice together as a team due to extend seasons for several of the fall sports, they’re hoping the practices leading up to next Thursday’s season opener will provide extra momentum and motivation to start the season.
“I’m just looking to see hard work and dedication. Coach (Hasenour) keeps tells us how we have to stay conditioned and I think that’s really going to help us right away,” Zink said. “Last year, I remember when we went to Tell City they weren’t expecting us to be as conditioned as we were so I think if we’re conditioned, we’ll get off to a good start.”
Hasenour added: “Every practice the girls have been working hard. We know there’s going to be a little extra electricity in the air next week going into that opening night game since Tell City is a sectional opponent and conference opponent so it gets their attention right away. They know they need to be sharp and ready to go — we’re pleased with what we have so far, we just hope it continues into next week.”
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