Zink leading way in Rangers' resurgenceJanuary 26, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
FERDINAND — It pulls Macie Zink’s heartstrings to know that she will play basketball for the final time this season.
Even if Forest Park wins the state championship, it is the end of the line for Zink, who signed a letter of intent to play college softball with Indiana University Southeast back in November. Her plan is to take as many positives out of each game as possible, even if Forest Park has a bad game. This is something Zink has spent a lot of time thinking about the past month. Everything has gone by faster than she thought it would, but credits that time winding down for being a driving force.
“Not being able to put on a basketball uniform after the last time I walk off the court is really hard for me to look at and see right now, but then I look down on my underclassmen and I just want to tell them how hard they need to work throughout their years because it goes quick,” Zink said.
Zink has accounted for a lot of Forest Park’s scoring production this season. She has tallied 279 points this year for an average of 13.9 per game, an uptick from the 12.3 points she averaged her junior year. Zink is also looking to improve her game in the paint. She said she has to focus on scoring in the paint instead of trying to draw fouls, but this won't take long to fix.
There have only been four games so far this season when Zink hasn’t reached double figures, and Forest Park is 1-3 in those games. The Rangers are 13-3 in the games she has scored 10 or more. She notched 18 in Tuesday’s win at Corydon Central. Zink scored nine points, which came from downtown. One of her 3-pointers came when the Rangers were down by one with 16 seconds to play, and they won their fifth straight game, 44-42. Zink led the team in scoring for the 12th time this season.
“Macie, I think ever since she’s been born, has been kind of just a natural leader and has always been one to kind of step up in the moment and do whatever it takes to help any of her teams win or help any of her teammates win, or anything like that in any sport,” Forest Park coach Tony Hasenour said. “Basketball’s been no different, and I think often we see girls when they come around here to their last year, they know that this is it and they’re going to give it their all, and I think she’s done that all season.”
She earned honors as an All-Pocket Athletic Conference selection last season, but the Rangers are enjoying a more successful season as a team in 2019-20. Forest Park went 11-13 last season, and the Rangers have already surpassed that this year with a 14-6 record. They have a chance to keep that going Saturday at Barr-Reeve. A victory would have them at their longest win streak since winning 10 in a row during their 2015-16 sectional championship season. Forest Park never won more than two consecutive games at any point last season.
Zink thinks the team’s mindset has changed this year. The Rangers are focusing on defense this year, holding opponents to 44 points or fewer in each of their last four games. They’ve made it a point to be loud, to talk on defense and to have one another’s back, and Forest Park continues to reap the rewards.
She has a drive to win, and doesn’t like to lose at all. Things are heading down the home stretch for Forest Park, and Zink believes in her teammates more than they know. She’s so confident that she thinks she’s going to go out with a bang. A bang to her is a sectional championship, which would be her second. Zink previously won one her freshman year in 2017. She recalls being nervous for her first sectional, but said the upperclassmen took her under their wing. They talked her up, asking her to do her best and they would do their best. Now, it's her turn to pull in the underclassmen and take care of them. She said both her freshman year and senior year teams worked hard and had fun.
Zink thinks Forest Park will have had a steady defense, and get the offensive rebounds if it misses a shot if it wins the sectional. Doing the fundamentals, she said, will win the Rangers their last four games of the regular season, and keep their heads up going into the postseason.
“I feel like this is the perfect time to peak, because Hasenour always talks about going up the mountain,” Zink said. “We want to be at the top during the postseason and I feel like right now is the perfect time to peak just because we’re getting closer and the games are only starting to be one or two a week instead of three.”
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