Saturday, January 31st, 2009
By Mark Ruschau
Top-ranked Rangers win in 3OT
  FORT RECOVERY - The number-one ranked team in the state for Division IV boys basketball, the New Knoxville Rangers, went on the road and kept its undefeated season intact, surviving a 73-64 triple overtime Midwest Athletic Conference tussle with the Fort Recovery Indians Friday night at a sold out Fort Site Fieldhouse.
With the win, their 40th in a row over two seasons, the Rangers improve to 5-0 in the conference and 13-0 overall. The tough loss drops Fort Recovery to 2-3 in the MAC and 9-4 on the season.
"If you can go without practice for three days and go on the road and get a win it is nice," said New Knoxville coach Dan Hegemier. "Fort Recovery just flat out beat us off the dribble for the biggest part of the night, but we were able to get some loose balls, hit some free throws and get some plays that were enough."
"We knew coming in that this was going to be a gut check for us, it was going to be a yard stick to see were we are and where we have to go and I thought we played a great game," said Fort Recovery coach Brian Patch. "You can say that we went scoreless for times during the game, but we were able to stay in the game because we were able to play defense and come up with plays to keep this a one-possession game for the biggest part of the game. We can go back and look at the game and play the game of 'what ifs' and dwell on it, or we can move and get better and know we have to put this one behind us and get ready for a game tonight against a good Greenville team."
No matter the post-game thoughts of coach Patch, this is a game that will stick in their craw for awhile as they had the defending state champions on the ropes several times, but were unable to deliver the knockout blow.
In the fourth quarter, the Indians held the Rangers to just two points over the final three minutes but they could not take advantage as they would also go scoreless themselves over the same time frame which forced the game into the first overtime tied at 45.
In the first extra session, Fort Recovery took an early, 48-47 on a three-point basket from Frank Thien with 3:22 left. New Knoxville retook the lead, 50-48 as Piehl hit a pair of free throws with 2:57 left and Derek Dicke hit a free throw with 2:02.
After a timeout with 1:59 left, Fort Recovery worked the clock down to 1:37 left when Greg Kahlig tied the score with two free throws.
New Knoxville went to the spread out offense on its next trip, worked the clock down to 38 seconds, then went into its offense, giving Marcus Reineke a look from the top of the key, which he missed, with Piehl grabbing the offensive rebound and missing a shot from the wing.
In the second overtime, New Knoxville never trailed as it took an early three-point lead, 53-50, on a lay-in by Austin Arnett and a Piehl free throw. Fort Recovery tied the game on a three-pointer by Greg Kahlig with 3:03 left.
The teams would be tied four times in the period, the last time at 59 on two Greg Kahlig free throws with 18 seconds left. New Knoxville had the last chance as it had the ball with 13 seconds left, and after a timeout, Caleb Allen missed a shot from the wing.
In the third overtime, with the game tied at 61, New Knoxville took the lead for good, 63-61 on two Arnett free throws with 2:45 left. After Frank Thien hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 63-62, Arnett gave his team some breathing room as he took a pass from Dicke for an easy lay up to make the score 65-61 with 2:20 left. Arnett then turned an Indian turnover into two free throws for a 67-61 Rangers lead with 1:28 on the clock.
"Austin Arnett hit some tough shots and made some big plays in the third overtime," said Hegemier. "Austin is a senior and those are the types of plays that we need to have from him."
Piehl led the way for New Knoxville with 31 points and 11 rebounds while Arnett added 17 points.
Greg Kahlig led the Indians with 30 points and 11 rebounds.
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