NEW KNOXVILLE — One of the most decorated players in Midwest Athletic Conference girls basketball history added another accomplishment to her growing list.
Needing one more basket to reach 1,000 points for her career and time running out on the first half, New Knoxville senior Haley Horstman juked at the top of the key to create an abundance of space, sliced into the lane and canned a 10-foot runner to reach the millenium mark in New Knoxville’s 76-25 win over Spencerville.
“It’s an important accomplishment,” Horstman said after the game. “I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough because without them I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
Horstman is the fourth Ranger girls basketball player to reach 1,000 points along with Jill Henschen, Nicole Wright and Ashley Arnett, New Knoxville athletic director Jerry VanderHorst tweeted after the game.
Horstman, who already has a pair of Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year Awards on the mantle, didn’t feel any pressure to get the 1,000th point.
“I just didn’t really think about it,” said Horstman, who shot 7 for 9 from the floor. “I just focused on winning tonight as a team and focused on playing well and getting back to where we needed to be.”
Horstman, a Findlay recruit who has played all four years for the Rangers at the varsity level, has been a statsheet stuffer as the area’s best defensive player and unselfish distributor from her point guard spot.
“She’s made my job a whole lot easier, that’s for sure,” New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegmier said. “Anybody that can score 1,000 points under me is doing a heck of a job because I’m not an uptempo coach. I’m a controlled coach as far as offense. Second of all, we play probably one of the toughest schedules of anybody around and third of all we play in the MAC. It’s not easy to do what she’s done.”
Add in the fact that Horstman is a point guard and 1,000 points looms even larger.
“She loves to get the assist and see the open person,” Hegemier said. “I don’t know how many steals she had tonight, but she’s getting close to breaking that record, as well.”
Meg Reineke drained all five 3-point attempts, hit all eight shots she took from the floor and scored a game-high 21 points, Paige Lehman added 16 points in the post and Horstman scored 14 points as the Rangers snapped a two-game skid with their highest offensive output with Hegemier as head coach.
“We finally put the ball through the hole,” Hegemier said. “They came out here relaxed and it’s all in the mind. We just have to come out and play ball and let it fly.”
The Rangers came out breathing fire after losing back-to-back games against top-flight opponents. The offense struggled against Minster and Versailles in losses. That wasn’t a problem on Tuesday as New Knoxville also picked up its first home win of the season.
“It felt good for our girls to come out and shoot well and to finally come out here and get a win on our home floor,” Horstman said.
The Rangers scored more points on this night than they had in the last two games combined with a scorching night from the floor and the free throw line.
New Knoxville shot 74 percent from the floor through the first three quarters the game on 26 of 35 shooting and finished the game 30 of 47 for 64 percent.
New Knoxville also hit all seven of its free throw attempts.
The Rangers scored 12 of the game’s first 14 points and put up 24 points in each of the first two quarters. The Rangers led 48-13 at half.
New Knoxville’s Kenzie Schroer knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points. Kalyn Schroer also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points. Rachel Leffel added six points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Rangers, who improved to 3-4 and will travel to Russia on Saturday at noon.