Tough Schedule Adds To Rangers’ Issues

New Knoxville’s Erin Scott leads the team in assists and ranks in the top 10 in scoring in the Midwest Athletic Conference.
Sports Editor

After its historical start to the season, the New Knoxville Rangers girls basketball team has hit into a snag in the last two games.

Aside from some instances where points were left on the court by the Rangers in losses to New Bremen and Anna or turnovers that would happen at the most inconvenient times in those games, the Rangers’ competition has also been much better and it does not look to let up anytime soon.

In the first five games of the season where the Rangers began 5-0, opponents’ records heading into Thursday were a combined 13-19 — with the only team sporting a winning record being Lima Senior (4-1).

In the last two games, the Rangers’ opponents have a combined 12-3 record heading into Thursday.

“It’s very disappointing,” Rangers coach Tim Hegemier said. “If we hit bunny shots, we can just as well be 7-0 instead of 5-2, it is as simple as that. But until they learn to do that and they get a positive attitude in their head that they can do it, it is going to be the same.

“That’s the reason why you run those offensive sets, to get those easy shots.”

Granted the Rangers have not shot the ball well in the last two games — 27.9 percent in a 33-29 loss to New Bremen last week and 38.8 percent in Tuesday’s 40-37 loss to Anna. New Knoxville is eighth in the Midwest Athletic Conference in scoring offense, yet rank fourth in the conference in field goal percentage. 

Turnovers have also not been much of an issue, nine against New Bremen and 16 against Anna, but facing better opponents and the fact that those two losses have been in a combined seven points are also eye-popping.

“They’re all experienced,” the coach said. “It’s not like it is their first game.”

The lack of free throws is also eye popping.

In the last two games, New Knoxville has reached the free throw line just eight times — four times in each game — compared to 22 trips by New Bremen and Anna combined. 

The Rangers are last in the number of trips to the free throw line with just 50 attempts.

“That is a big factor, it was the game right there,” Hegemier said after Tuesday’s loss against Anna.

With all those numbers factored in, the Rangers have a pair of players rank in the top 10 in scoring — Megan Jurosic at 12.1 points per game and Erin Scott at 11.2 ppg. 

Ball movement is also the Rangers’ strong suit so far this year with Scott tied for the conference lead in assists with 30.

But give credit to the Rangers’ opponents. 

New Bremen has three players ranked in the top 10 in rebounds and the Rockets defeated the Cardinals in the season opener and they play tough defense.

And the schedule does not get any easier for the Rangers.

On Thursday, they travel to Spencerville (6-0), before traveling the opposite way on state Route 66 to face Fort Loramie (6-1) before the schedule eases up a little against Jackson Center (1-6), Delphos St. John’s (3-4), Lehman Catholic (3-3) and Waynesfield-Goshen (3-5).

This tough portion of the schedule does show what the Rangers who they are, but forgive them if they struggle against the competition.