Shawnee at New Knoxville photo gallery (Link):
NEW KNOXVILLE — The New Knoxville boys basketball team’s 20-point loss to Anna simmered in the Rangers players’ minds for 12 days.
“It’s been a long week and a half since we got beat over at Anna pretty soundly,” New Knoxville head coach Kort Fledderjohann said.
“We haven’t been shooting the ball well, so we shot in practice, we shot and we shot some more.”
It paid off.
All that energy boiled out in the first few minutes of the Rangers’ home game against the Lima Shawnee Indians on Thursday to stake New Knoxville to an early cushion.
New Knoxville hit six of the first eight 3-pointers it attempted and shot 60 percent from the floor in a 44-34 win over Lima Shawnee on Thursday night at The Barn.
Lucas Leffel and Andrew Arnett scored 10 points apiece to lead the Rangers, who had almost two weeks off after suffering a blowout loss to the Rockets two Saturday nights ago.
The Rangers jumped out to a 16-6 in the first quarter by carving up Shawnee’s trapping zone defense with four 3-pointers.
“The only way you can beat a defense that is that aggressive is to attack the basket,” Fledderjohann said.
The Rangers limited the damage done by Shawnee’s Seth Rosenbauer, a 6-foot-5 largebody in the paint for the Indians. Rosenbauer scored eight points, but New Knoxville forced Shawnee to try to beat them from the perimeter.
“When we came back this week we just talked about protecting the basket,” Fledderjohann said. “We pulled our pressure off and went to quarter court and just wanted to protect the paint and the basket. We did a little bit better job of that tonight.”
Shawnee shot more three pointers (23) than they did shots inside it (22). The Indians weren’t successful from any distance, hitting just 27 percent of their shots on Thursday.
Jarrod Pughsley led Shawnee with nine points.
The one offensive jolt Shawnee received came in the second quarter when the Indians eroded New Knoxville’s early lead.
Shawnee slowly but surely got back into the game, creating havoc as it extended its trapping pressure to three-quarter court.
Shawnee’s 11-1 run to close the second quarter brought the Indians to within 25-22 at the half.
Shawnee briefly drew even with New Knoxville early in the third quarter at 25-25, but the Rangers’ Seth Kuck made a pair of important baskets to get and maintain a lead. New Knoxville freshman Shane Topp then drained a three-pointer to give the Rangers some breathing room at 34-28.