Hegemier wins 500th game as Riders top Rangers 49-46

NEW KNOXVILLE — Dan Hegemier’s New Knoxville Rangers were unbeatable on their home floor during a run of three straight 20-win regular seasons in the mid 2000s, with a long list of memorable wins during a 63-game regular season winning streak.

In his second return to The Barn as head coach of the St. Marys Roughriders on Friday night, Hegemier added another signature win on that floor.

Hegemier became the 44th coach in Ohio high school basketball history to reach 500 victories as the Roughriders  built a 14-point lead midway through the second half and held off a last-minute New Knoxville barrage for a 49-46 win.

“I’ve had all these wins and ironically this one came here,” Hegemier said to the crowd in a brief ceremony at center court after the contest.

New Knoxville presented Hegemier with a clock congratulating him on his accomplishment. Hegemier gave a short thank you to New Knoxville and his own Roughrider team that roared out of the gate and did just enough in the fourth quarter to hold on for their third win of the campaign.

“I’d like to congratulate Coach Hegemier on his 500th win,” said New Knoxville head coach Kort Fledderjohann, who was an assistant coach under Hegemier before taking over for him as the Rangers’ mentor. “I have a lot of respect for Dan and the five years he was here I learned a lot from him.”

His 500th win goes along with a long list of accomplishments in his 31-season coacing career. He’s won 11 district and four regional titles to go with two state championships at Fort Loramie and another at New Knoxville. Hegemier has been the AP Ohio Coach of the Year three times (1993, 2007 and 2008) and the OHSBCA Coach of the Year in 2007.

St. Marys won the half-court battle with a balanced scoring attack. Seven players got in the scorebook, with five scoring seven or more points. Isaac Fitzgerald scored a team-high 10 points. Marquis Wilson, Josh Young and Derek Jay each scored nine points and Quinn Zaerr added seven points.

Shane Topp led New Knoxville with 13 points. Andrew Arnett added 11 points.

St. Marys maintained a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter before the Rangers’ Andrew Arnett, Isaac Kuntz, Shane Topp and Adam Howe drilled four 3-pointers in a 29-second interval in the game’s final minute.

But after Howe’s final trey went in with four seconds left, St. Marys let the clock run out without inbounding the ball, as Roughrider players celebrated near midcourt.

“Any time you come in here and win, it’s great,” Hegemier said.