NEW KNOXVILLE -- Junior guard Jake Allen made New Knoxville's first game against St. Marys in more than 60 years something to remember.
Allen sliced into the lane and hit a runner with less than six seconds left to lift New Knoxville to a 43-42 comeback win over St. Marys on Saturday night.
When St. Marys guard Dustin Fisher's long heave from the right side clanked off the side of the iron, New Knoxville's bench cascaded onto the floor and mobbed Allen at mid-court.
"I think a new rivalry has started," Allen said after the game.
Allen's driving bucket came on the third of three options the Rangers drew up when they called timeout with a minute left down 42-41. St. Marys had missed an open lay-up on the possession before, missing a chance to extend the lead to three points.
Allen made St. Marys pay for it.
"We were at first trying to get the ball into the post to Lucas (Leffel) but we really couldn't get it in there," Allen said. "So we pulled it out to run another play. I saw nobody was open. I took it in, took the shot and it just went in."
Allen led New Knoxville with 13 points.
"Jake snuck in there and made the shot, that dad-gum fool," said Hegemier,, who still knows the players from New Knoxville well, wryly.
St. Marys led by eight points at the half.
"We did a nice job, but we needed to keep scoring and we didn't keep scoring," Hegemier said.
Allen said his team wanted to dip into that lead little by little to give itself a chance at the end.
"We wanted to get a high hand on their shooters and then get out and run the floor," Allen said. "We wanted to cut the lead to four to start the fourth quarter and we got it down to two."
The two teams had not squared off on the hardwood since 1947.
Dustin Fisher, who is filling in at the starting point guard position while Garet Fledderjohann is out, scored a game-high 18 points for St. Marys. Fisher knocked down four 3-pointers.
"We left Fisher and guarded the wrong guys sometimes," New Knoxville head coach Kort Fledderjohann said. "I give Fisher all the credit in the world. He stepped up and hit some big shots."
"He played two straight games," Hegemier said. "That's 64 minutes without a blow...He was challenged to where he had to run the point. And there's a lot of kids who could be cowards and say they didn't want to do it. But he did it.He did a good job."
J.D. Meyer added 12 points and six rebounds for St. Marys, which fell to 0-2 on the season after back-to-back losses to MAC schools.
Dan Hegemier coached against New Knoxville for the first time since he left the school two seasons ago to pursue the St. Marys position. Hegemier coached the Rangers to three MAC titles and a state championship in the 2000s.
New Knoxville head coach Kort Fledderjohann was an assistant under Hegemier.
Fledderjohann said there are similarities to their coaching styles.
"It's kind of funny because when we coached together we'd come in on Monday with stuff down on paper about games we saw on television over the weekend and asked each other if he saw this and I saw that," Fledderjohann said. "So we knew a lot of the stuff each other was going to do."
Lucas Leffel came alive in the second half and ended up with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"Lucas is just a blue-collar worker and he doesn't stop," Fledderjohann said.
The two teams got into a minor fracas after an intentional foul was called along the sideline near the St. Marys bench. Players were separated.
"There's a little tension between these two teams," Allen said. "I can tell."View more articles in: