ST. MARYS — For the first time since 2007, the New Knoxville girls basketball team is headed to the regional tournament.
The Rangers captured a Division IV district championship with a 52-45 win over Upper Scioto Valley on Saturday night at St. Marys Memorial High School.
New Knoxville (21-3) will play at regional next Thursday at 6:15 p.m. at Tipp City Tippecanoe High School against the winner of Saturday night's game between Dayton Miami Valley and New Madison Tri-Village.
The Rangers locked down on USV leading scorer Kayla Prater, holding the senior who averaged 17.7 points per game to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
New Knoxville senior Tiana Heidt took Prater on defensively and controlled the Rams' best scoring option.
"One simple name: Tiana Heidt," New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said.
"Tiana is tall, she's got long arms. If Prater wanted to spot up and she holds the ball down (near her hip) when she shoots. Tiana can get out on her and Tiana can move her feet a little. She did a heck of a job."
Prater scored 30 points against Fort Recovery with a lunging jumpshot that was on the mark against the Indians.
Heidt kept Prater in front of her and used her height and quickness to slow her down.
"I just played straight up when she shot so I didn't foul her," Heidt said. "It was kind of like Margaret Wuebker in the Marion Local game."
Heidt locked down Wuebker, another six-foot-plus forward with a driving jumpshot, in the sectional title game to just seven points seven days before.
"She guarded Wuebker last week and guarded Prater this week," Hegemier said.
Sophomore guard Haley Horstman scored a game-high 18 points for New Knoxville and spliced open USV's three-quarter court defensive pressure that had undone Fort Recovery just two night before.
Heidt added 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor and fellow senior Haley Dillon added 10 points.
Aspen Rose and Ali Goldsmith led USV with 13 points apiece.
New Knoxville went 15-of-25 at the free throw line while USV was 8-of-12 at the line.
New Knoxville had won the regular season match-up, played at USV, by seven points, and the Rangers knocked the Rams from the tournament for the second straight season.
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