Tuesday Recap: Rangers Defense Limits Botkins

New Knoxville's Jack Bartholomew plays defense during a non-conference boys basketball game on Tuesday
Staff Writer

Boys Basketball
New Knoxville 51
, Botkins 30

For the first time since before Christmas, the red and grey faithful witnessed a Rangers’ win.
Riding good ball movement on the offensive end and solid rotational defense in the paint on the defensive side, New Knoxville played their best all-around game of the season with a 51-30 non-conference boys basketball win against Botkins on Tuesday at the Barn.
“It is nice to look up at the board and see scoring all across the board instead of just one or two people,” said Rangers coach Josh Lisi. “We have been looking for confidence and I am hoping this is going to serve as a confidence booster for us.”
The Rangers (6-11) — who had come into Tuesday’ match not winning a game from the friendly confines of the Barn since beating Temple Christian on Dec. 22 — used their size to bully Botkins in the paint as well as a good rotation to limit the Trojans to just 1-of-12 shooting from the floor overall in the second quarter and ball movement to put themselves a step ahead.
“I thought defensively, our rotation was very good tonight and that is something we have been stressing the last couple of weeks,” Lisi said. “We went to zone a little bit because of matchup reasons, but in the last two games, we have been able to work on our man to man and I thought tonight we did a good job on rotation.”
That rotational defense showed its effectiveness in the second quarter.
Since they led 15-11 with 6:49 left, the Rangers limited Botkins (6-13) — losers of eight straight games — to a paltry 1-of-10 from the floor as New Knoxville enjoyed a 9-1 run to take a 26-14 lead into halftime.
Since Botkins closed the game to 15-11 after trailing 13-7 to open the second quarter, leading scorer Nathan Tinnerman tallied five of the Rangers’ nine points,  and dating back to Botkins’ lone bucket from the floor from Zane Paul with 7:12 left in the first half, the Rangers outscored the Trojans 11-3 to the half.
“It’s tough to score points when you only make one basket,” Trojans coach Brett Meyer said. “Right now defensively, we just need to get a little bit better and communicate a little bit better.”
Botkins (6-13) finished the second quarter shooting just 1-of-12 from the floor, while committing 10 turnovers.
The Trojans did, however, open the game with a 4-0 lead on baskets from Spencer Heuker and Tyler Free with 5:35 left, but from that mark to the half, the Rangers outscored Botkins 26-10 as the Trojans shot just 2-of-16 from the floor for the remainder of the first half.
The Trojans did close the 12-point halftime deficit to open the third quarter with five straight points — a bucket from Ethan Butcher and a trey from Paul — to make the score 26-19, and prompting the Rangers to call a timeout.
But Botkins did not record a basket from the floor for another 2:43 and mustered just five points in the last 4:14 of the quarter, while the Rangers pushed their lead back to double figures, 39-26, to conclude the third quarter.
“I thought we settled a little bit too much on the outside,” Meyer said as the Trojans attempted 10 3-point field goals in the final 21 minutes of the game. “We need to continue to attack more and that starts with movement.
“We have a lot of things to work on right now with us being young.”
The Rangers’ largest lead was 19 points, 45-26, as New Knoxville opened the final quarter on a 6-0 run.
“I thought we moved the ball well offensively and we were effective when we moved the ball,” Lisi said. “It was when we got out of control where we ran into our problems.
“So I stressed at halftime to get into our offense and be fundamental.”
Tinnerman led all scorers with 15 points, followed by 10 points from Ben Lammers.
“It is nice to look up at the board and see scoring all across the board instead of just one or two people,” Lisi said. “We have been looking for confidence and I am hoping this is going to serve as a confidence booster for us.”
Heuker led the Trojans with nine points.
Botkins won the junior varsity contest, 60-33, led by Patrick Covert and Ryland Dyrness with nine points each.
The Rangers have three games remaining on their regular season schedule — all Midwest Athletic Conference matchups — beginning with Minster on Friday.
After losing six straight games, New Knoxville has won two straight and Lisi hopes his team can build off those wins as they approach the postseason.
“It’s tough because we had hard schedule so some of that put our confidence in check a little bit, but tonight, beating Botkins, a team right down the road, this is kind of a rival game for us, we some kids who are relating to the other guys on Botkins and they showed up tonight and played,” the coach said. “And I hope this carries over for us against Minster and the rest of the league in our schedule.”

Girls Basketball
Spencerville 51,
New Bremen 41
SPENCERVILLE — With a strong offense and defense, the Spencerville Bearcats ran past the the New Bremen Cardinals in three of the four quarters played during Tuesday night's non-conference girls basketball contest.
“If we would have converted the turnovers into points it would have been a different ball game entirely.” Cardinals coach Chris Burden said.
Since losing to Fort Recovery on Jan. 11, the Cardinals (14-5) have dropped four of their last seven games, being limited to fewer than 50 points in each of those losses.
Opening up the first quarter, the Cardinals outscored the Bearcats by just one point, but the Cardinals’ lead didn’t last for long, in the second quarter as the Bearcats scored 13 points to the Cardinals’ nine.
Spencerville's Jayden Smith led the way with nine of those 13 points for the Bearcats in what was her best quarter of the night.
After halftime, the Cardinals and Bearcats were neck and neck up until the buzzer, but that second-quarter advantage for Spencerville made the difference.
A 2-pointer by Bearcats senior Kaiden Grisgby was answered by a 2-pointer from Cardinals junior Molly Smith.
Forcing many turnovers, the Cardinals hoped to turn the game around in the second half.
“They did a great job of running their offense.” Burden added. “We just couldn’t get to the hoop on time.”
A battle between the two teams, offensively and defensively was prevalent throughout the remainder of the third quarter, until a two-pointer by New Bremen junior Abbi Thieman tied the game at 29 points all.
Thirty seconds later, junior Hanna Tenkman swished a trey for her only points of the night to take the lead for the Cardinals for the first time since the second quarter at 32-29
A 3-pointer by senior Jenna Henline would take the lead back for the Bearcats with 35 seconds left in the third quarter as Spencerville finished the stanza with a 7-0 run to enter the fourth quarter with a 36-32 lead.
During the last eight minutes of the game, the Bearcats’ defense didn’t let up to allow the Cardinals to take the lead again, scoring 16 points at the rim to the Cardinals’ nine.
The Cardinals were led by senior Paige Jones with 11 points, but the Spencerville defense limited another usually top scorer for the Cardinals in Kelly Naylor, who finished with just three points on the night. The Bearcats were led by Grigsby with 17 points.  
The Cardinals junior varsity team defeated the Bearcats, 34-24.
New Bremen will travel to Rockford on Thursday to play the Panthers. The junior varsity game will be at 6:30 p.m.

Junior High Girls Basketball
St. Marys 46,
Kenton 11
ELIDA — The No. 1 seeded St. Marys Roughriders eighth-grade girls basketball team held the Kenton Wildcats scoreless in the first and fourth quarters to come away with a 46-11 victory Tuesday in their opening game of the Elida Tournament at Elida High School. 
Noey Ruane and Kendall Dieringer paced the Riders scoring 12 and 10 points respectively. 
Lydia Will added seven points, while Elena Menker and Karsyn McGlothen each scored five points. 
Natalie Imwalle hit a 3-pointer, Eva Young and Morgan Hirschfeld added two points each. 
The girls play at 1 p.m. Saturday at 1:00 in the semifinals against Wapakoneta.