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Saturday, November 29th, 2008

All-MAC final tonight in New Bremen

By Mark Ruschau

New Knoxville's Taylor Arnett, 4, goes strong to the basket for two points durin. . .

NEW BREMEN - It will be an all-Midwest Athletic Conference championship game in the Cardinal Tip-Off Tourney as the New Knoxville Rangers defeated the Anna Rockets 46-36 and the host New Bremen Cardinals blasted the Riverside Pirates 70-39 in the opening round of the tournament Friday night at New Bremen High School.
New Bremen and New Knoxville will square off in the second game of Saturday night's doubleheader at approximately 8:30 p.m. Anna and Riverside will play in the consolation game with a 6:30 p.m. tip.
New Knoxville 46, Anna 36
The Rangers used a solid defensive effort and just enough offense to defeat Anna in the tournament opener.
New Knoxville held the Rockets to just 31 percent shooting from the floor and forced the Rockets into 17 turnovers. The smaller Rangers also held their own the glass with the taller Rockets, pulling down 32 rebounds to the Rockets 34
"I was very impressed with the way our girls played defense tonight," said New Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier. "We have been working on defense the last three weeks. Because of our size, one girl over 5-9, we have to have good defense because we don't have that inside presence.
"Since we are small, every one of our girls has learned the technicalities of boxing out and they do a great job of boxing out," continued Hegemier. "I thought we did a good job on the boards in the first half and that was huge, especially with their height advantage."
The New Knoxville defense was the difference in this one down the stretch.
Having seen Anna pull to within seven, 39-32, with 4:22 left on a basket by Kylie Wildermuth, the New Knoxville defense held the Rockets to just two free throws over the final 3:44 which allowed the Rangers to rebuild the lead to as many as 12. Over that time span, the Rockets missed five shots and turned the ball over six times.
On offense, New Knoxville had a productive game for the first night as the Rangers hit 16-of-39 from the floor for 41 percent but they were an impressive 14-of-27 from two-point range. The Rangers were also productive from the free-throw line,, hitting on 12-of-17. The one fly in the offensive ointment for New Knoxville was the fact that it turned the ball over 16 times.
"I was not very pleased with the amount of turnovers that we had, I don't know how many we had but it was too many," said Hegemier. "We just could not put the dagger into them, but a lot of that can be because of first game jitters. For a lot of these girls, it was their first varsity outing and I have to keep hitting myself in the head and remind myself that this team is young and that turnovers are going to happen."
Senior Casey Horstman led the way for the Rangers with a game-high 12 points while Morgan Reineke added 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Rebecca Burch led the Rockets in scoring with 11 points.
New Bremen 70, Riverside 39
After trailing early in the nightcap, the hosts turned up the defense and routed the team from Logan County.
Trailing early, 4-2, the Cardinals scored 16 of the final 20 points in the quarter to take a 20-8 advantage after the first period. The Pirates would come no closer then 13 after New Bremen scored the first five points of the second quarter. In the opening period, New Bremen forced eight turnovers and it was able to convert them into 16 points in the period.
New Bremen got balance offensively as five players dented the scoring column in the opening period, led by seven points from Stacy Timmerman.
The first quarter was a microcosm of the game. On the night, New Bremen hit on 24-of-52 from the floor, including 23-of-46 from two-point range. In all, 10 Cardinals that hit the floor dented the scoring column. Timmerman led the way with a game-high 18 points. Jaclyn Dabbelt and LeAnn Topp each chipped in 13 points.
"I thought we played well tonight," said New Bremen coach Dave McFeely. "Offensively we did a great job of doing the things that we wanted to do and defensively we were able to sit in our man defense. We told the girls that if we were able to get the game into a track meet that they would not be on the floor long and I felt that was what happened. We know and we talked about it inside that things are going to be a lot tougher tomorrow night against New Knoxville."
On the defensive end, New Bremen held the Pirates to just 36 percent from the floor and they forced 32 Riverside turnovers.
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