GIRLS BASKETBALL: New Knoxville staves off Blue Jays

DSJ at New Knoxville Photo Gallery (Link):

NEW KNOXVILLE — The New Knoxville Rangers basketball team survived a comeback by the Delphos St. John’s Blue Jays, and a pair of three-pointers from Haley Horstman midway through the fourth quarter gave the Rangers a cushion in a  52-35 victory in a MAC contest at New Knoxville.

“The team showed Tim (Hegemier) a lot tonight,” New Knoxville assistant coach Matt Gabel said. “They made a big run and team like Delphos we know what we are getting when we play them and we answered the bell with a couple of big shots and hung in there. We knew they would make a final run and we survived.”

“We knew this was a tough place to play,” Blue Jays head coach Dan Grothouse said. “New Knoxville has always gotten off to a good start and we wanted to make sure we weathered that and held on but they were executing well and they beat us early on the offensive glass.”

The Rangers did get off to a good start as they jumped to a 6-2 lead and doubled the Jays 12-6 after the first quarter, but it was the fourth quarter when Delphos made their comeback.

“Our first quarter all year has been our strong quarter,” Gabel said. “It is nice to get out of the gate and set the tone for the rest of the game. We stress that every day.”  

Trailing 35-24 going into the fourth quarter Delphos got a triple and a basket off a turnover by Shelby Reindel to close the gap to 35-29 in the first minute.

Following a Delphos timeout, they continued the comeback with a basket by Courtney Grothouse and a pair of free throws from Katie Vorst to trail by two at 35-33 with 5:45 left.

That was as close as they would get as New Knoxville finally got on the board with a pair of free throws from Horstman. She then put the game out of reach with a pair of bombs to increase the lead back to 43-33 with 3:12 left. Following a lay-up from Paige Lehman, the Rangers hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch for the 52-35 victory.

Horstman ended the game with 21 points.

“Meg Reineke, who is a freshman, came off the bench and hit some big free throws for us down the stretch,” Gabel said. “Defense is number one in our book and if we can play defense you have a chance to win.

“We hit a stretch in the fourth quarter,” Grothouse said. “I don’t know how it started, but our kids got started. We got after them and put a little pressure on them. We rebounded the ball and attacked the basket offensively and we knocked down some shots. We had confidence in our step, but we ran out of gas. We cut the deficit to 2 and Horstman made some big shots down the stretch.”

In the first half it was the rebounding and scoring of Paige Lehman who accounted for 14 points and five rebounds. Overall she had 16 points and nine rebounds.

“It is a good problem to have with Horstman and Lehman being sophomores,” Gabel said. “We have two more years with them. We like the matchup with Paige inside and she is very hard to stop. If they double team her we have Tiana Heidt and Horstman who are good shooters.”

“We were allowing them to make cuts and do whatever they wanted inside the paint,” Grothouse said. “She got position, but in the second half I thought we did a better job on her and we made her work a little more.”

In the JV contest Delphos defeated the Rangers 32-19.

The Blue Jays (7-3, 1-2) entertain St. Henry next Thursday, while New Knoxville (6-2, 3-1) entertains Waynesfield-Goshen on Saturday at noon.