Fort Loramie ends Ranger run in tourney, 50-44, in regional semi

TIPP CITY — New  Knoxville senior Haley Horstman walked slowly to the bench after fouling out in the final half minute of Thursday night’s regional semifinal. Fans from both sides  in the filled-to-the-brim gymnasium at Tippecanoe High School stood and gave a curtain call ovation for the finish of a record-setting four seasons and one last tournament run for the New Knoxville girls basketball team she helped stoke.

Horstman carried the Rangers all night, scoring 28 points in a basketball tour de force before fouling out, but the Fort Loramie Redskins continued their quest to repeat as Division IV state champions with a 50-44 win over the Rangers.

“Haley took the game over for the entire game,” New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said. “Anybody who watched this game knows what kind of a player she is. If she ain’t the player of the year in the state of Ohio, nobody is.”

But the defending champs had too many weapons and too much experience in the end.

Janell Hoying buried a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for Fort Loramie, thwarting the Rangers’ comeback designs and the AP Southwest District Player of the Year Darian Rose scored 23 points for the Redskins, who move to 25-2 and who will play Fayetteville-Perry for a regional title on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

New Knoxville’s 19-game winning streak ended along with its season. The Rangers began the winter with a 2-4 record before rattling off those 19 straight. Their stumbling block was a Fort Loramie team that sealed off all other offensive options and forced Horstman to shoulder almost all of the Ranger scoring.

The three-time MAC Player of the Year almost carried the Rangers to a win. She scored 28 points on 10 of 22 shooting and a 6 for 8 night at the free throw line. No one else scored more than six points — Meg Reineke hit a pair of 3-pointers — for New Knoxville.

“We told the girls we were going to try to contain her,” Fort Loramie head coach Carla Siegel said. “Contain was the word. We weren’t going to stop her, but if we contained her and stopped everybody else we felt like we’d be okay. For the most part we did a good job and Horstman is a phenomenal passer. Our post defense was good on Lehman.”