Rangers Race Past St. Henry

New Knoxville’s Morgan Leffel drives to the basket and goes in for a layup during the first half of Thursday’s Midwest Athletic Conference girls basketball game against St. Henry.
Staff Writer

It was about as good as a start as the Rangers could have imagined.

Ten straight baskets to begin the game.

Suffocating defense which kept the Redskins nearly two full quarters without a point, and 27 consecutive points at the other end.

Jockeying for both a spot near the top of the conference standings as well as postseason seedings, the Rangers helped their cause as the season winds down.

The New Knoxville girls basketball team raced out to a 20-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 51-28 victory against the St. Henry Redskins in Midwest Athletic Conference action Thursday night at Ranger Gymnasium.

“That was one of our better halves,” said NKHS coach Tim Hegemier, whose team moves to 11-5 on the season and slides into fourth place in the MAC with a 4-2 mark. “We were running our offense crisp. There was no stagnant or holding the ball, looking for somebody to pass [to].

“They played that 2-3 zone and I knew they were going to come out with it. We kind of practiced pretty hard at that.”

In addition to turning the ball over five times, St. Henry, which slipped two spots to sixth in the MAC, was just 1-of-8 from the field in the first quarter and missed all four shots in the second.

New Knoxville, on the other hand, was on fire. It made all eight shots it took during the first eight minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers each from Jacklyn Leffel and Ellie Gabel, then sank the first two of the second quarter before finally missing a shot. (The streak ended when Ashley Ontrop blocked a Morgan Leffel attempt near the hoop.)

Jacklyn Leffel sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a Gabel triple, the latter of which came at the buzzer before halftime.

Leffel and the Rangers trotted jubilantly into the break with a comfortable 33-2 advantage. Leffel was 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the first half and missed her only attempt after intermission.

Gabel, who was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, led the Rangers with a game-high 16 points, and Megan Jurosic tied Leffel with a dozen points.

St. Henry was 9-for-34 (26.5%), while New Knoxville was 20-of-34 (58.8%), including an 8-for-11 (72.7%) effort from distance.

Vaughn (14.06 points per game) and Alyssa Buschur (13.31 ppg) were ranked third and fourth respectively in the conference in scoring, and they were held to just six points each.