By MARK RUSCHAU
NEW BREMEN — Thursday night It was a major case of deja
vu for New Knoxville coach Keith Meckstroth and his girls. Meckstroth’s
girls ended the regular season the way they began with a win
at New Bremen High School.
Back on Thanksgiving weekend, 2003, the Rangers swept the Cardinal
Tip-Off Classic, beating Anna and New Bremen.
Thursday night the Rangers ended their regular season in dramatic
fashion, rallying to defeat the Cardinals, 53-51, in overtime
in Midwest Athletic Conference play.
New Knoxville ends the regular season at 12-8 overall and 5-4
in conference play while New Bremen falls to 8-12 and 5-4.
“It was just like the beginning of the season wasn’t
it? “said Meckstroth. “I told you at the beginning
of the season that this team has no stars, we had players stepped
up just like we did the first weekend here. We hung around until
we were able to figure things out and we went with the things
The Rangers had to rally twice to pull this one out.
In regulation, the Rangers trailed 39-34, with 6:46 left when
the Cardinals’ Robyn Garman drilled a three-point field
New Knoxville quickly rallied back to tie the game at 39-all,
on a basket by Kendall Bertsch and three-point play by Nicole
Wright with just under four minutes left.
New Bremen regained the lead, 42-39, on a three-point field
goal by Jenny Homan with 3:45 left but New Knoxville answered
and re-tied the game at 42-42 on its next trip on a Wright trey.
New Bremen scored its last points of regulation when Homan found
Kelly Steineman underneath the hoop for a 44-42 lead.
New Knoxville tied the game at 44-44 when Wright stuck back
a Katie Pfenning miss with 14 seconds left. After a timeout,
New Bremen had a chance but a Homan trey attempt rimed out.
“We had a five-point lead to start the fourth quarter
then we give up an easy drive and score,” said New Bremen
coach John Storrer. “We work on that all the time and
we never seem to get it and I’m tired of watching it happen
New Bremen quickly took an early lead in the overtime as Ashley
Egbert scored inside and Steineman canned two free throws on
the Cardinals’ first two possession of the overtime.
After a Wright free toss made it 48-45, the Rangers converted
a Homan miss into a Wright basket inside to make it 48-47 with
two minutes left.
After a New Bremen turnover, Wright gave New Knoxville the lead
for good with two free throws with 1:24 left. After another
New Bremen miscue with 1:05 left, Whitney Meckstroth hit the
first of a one-and-one from the free-throw line to make the
Meckstroth missed the second shot but Wright grabbed the rebound
and the ensuing possession resulted in a Kara Katterheinrich
free throw and a 51-48 lead with 24 seconds left.
Wright then topped off a huge night as she blocked a Homan three-point
field goal attempt with 10 seconds left.
After a Katterheinrich free throw made the score, 52-48, Kacie
Schmiesing canned a three-point field with two seconds left
to cut the Ranger lead to 52-51.
Bertsch canned one of two free throws to seal the deal.
“I told the girls at the end of the regulation that if
we were going to win the game we would have to go inside,”
said Meckstroth. “Nicole got a big block defensively,
she scored inside and we were able to hold on. I really didn’t
know how much gas we had left but we were able to get it done.”
“I thought once we took the lead in the overtime we would
be alright,” said Storrer. “They came down and scored
an easy basket and they were within two and they made the plays
down the stretch and we didn’t. They made some free throws,
we couldn’t make some plays and they did. They deserved
to win the game and we didn’t.”
Wright led the way for the Rangers with a game-high 23 points
and she grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Homan led the Cardinals
with 18 points.
New Knoxville is back in action on Tuesday night, back at New
Bremen High School as it opens Division IV sectional play against
Spencerville. New Bremen is off until next Saturday when they
will play for a Division IV sectional championship at Lima Bath
against the winner of Tuesday’s Temple Christian-Upper
Scioto Valley game.