BASKETBALL: Rangers rally past Botkins

BOTKINS — The Botkins Trojans made a fight of it but came up short at home for the second night in a row.

The New Knoxville Rangers used a strong fourth quarter to put the Trojans away, 50-38, in a varsity girls basketball game Tuesday at Botkins High School.

“It was an ugly game,” Rangers varsity coach Tim Hegemier said. “I was really disappointed in our defense and the offense, but you are going to have those games.”

New Knoxville got off to an good start as it connected on eight of its first nine shots to gain a 12-5 lead with 3:25 left. With the score 16-5 Botkins scored two baskets in the final minute to trail 16-9 after one quarter of play.

“The girls played hard again tonight and I was pleased,” Trojans varsity coach Don Mack said. “There are two stretches that I remember. In the beginning they hit the first four shots and then in the fourth quarter when we got the score to four they hit three or four shots in a row and that was the difference.”

The Trojans got the ball in to Logan Pitts early in the second quarter to trim the deficit to 16-13 with 4:20 left. That is when Tiana Heidt started to flex her scoring muscle as she scored three of the next four baskets with a layup thrown in from Paige Lehman to extend the lead to 26-15 with 2:13 left. Once again Botkins got the ball inside for a layup and a three-point play. Hailey Billing sank a free throw to make the halftime score 27-20.

“Tiana Heidt had a good first half for us,” Hegemier said. “If it wasn’t for her scoring we might have been behind.”

Said Mack, “Heidt is a very physically strong kid and she really knows how to use her body. She did a nice job of using her body to keep herself open on the seal.”

In the game, Heidt had 18 points, 14 points in the first half. She also had seven rebounds.

In the second half it was Paige Lehman who took over the scoring as she had 15 points, 11 points in the second half.

“It is nice when we have two or three scorers,” Hegemier said. “When one isn’t scoring the other one can pick her up.”

The Trojans continued to get the ball inside and it paid off as they trimmed the score to 34-28 with 2:30 left and following a Trojan timeout, Pitts scored a layup with 1:24 left for a 34-30 deficit. Both teams added a pair of points for a 36-32 score after three quarters.

New Knoxville started to put the game away in the beginning of the fourth quarter when they scored the first six points to expand the lead to double digits at 42-32 with six minutes left. The Rangers kept that lead as they won 50-38.

“I don’t think we played very good defense tonight,” Hegemier said. “There are a lot of things that we are going to have to go over. We also didn’t play very smart offensively and I don’t know what the problem was, but we just were not jelling as a team.”

The Rangers (4-1) get back in the MAC on Thursday when they travel to Marion Local, while Botkins (2-4) entertains Bellefontaine on Thursday.