Wednesday night at the home of the Lowell Red Arrows, the Rangers and the Red Hawks of Cedar Springs would fight it out for a spot in the district finals. At the end of 32 minutes of play, the Rangers would earn their spot in the championship game with a 50-44 victory.
Going into the game, head coach Kristina Prins said she was nervous as it is very difficult to beat a team three times.
“It’s really really hard [to beat a team three times], we knew they were going to come out and want to win. Anything could’ve happened.” said Prins.
Right from the get go the two teams were closely matched. The score was back and forth but the Red Hawks managed to pull ahead, leading the Rangers 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Throughout the second quarter, the score was still constantly back and forth. Sophomore Claire Baguley was able to give the Rangers a small lead, going up four after making a layup and knocking down a free throw after being fouled. Despite the small cushion from Claire, the Rangers were not able to keep their lead and were down by one going into the locker room, 20-19.
“They were playing not to lose, and they cannot do that,” said Prins on the team’s first half performance. “They have to go out there and hustle on every play, get every 50/50 ball, they have to run the floor, and just do what we do best and that’s set the pace ourselves.”
Coming out in the second half, both teams were lacking in energy. The Rangers were finally able to ignite the flame when senior Maddy Smith got a rebound and sent it down court to Claire for an easy two points. Being fouled once again on the play, she made the free throw that followed and put the game within one, 27-26.
They were able to continue converting on offense when junior Emma Yoder made a wide open layup resulting from a well-designed out of bounds play. This put the Rangers ahead by one. Continuing the scoring spree on the next possession, Maddy was able to get the ball to Emma in the paint for an easy drop step and two points. They led at the end of the quarter 34-33.
As the game went into the final 8 minutes, both teams were unwilling to give up. The Red Hawks were able to tie the game early on by making a free throw, putting the score to 34-34. The Rangers had a five point lead with five minutes left in the game, but were not able to keep it for long due to fouling a lot. The score was 42-44 with 2:30 left in the game.
Over the next few seconds, the Rangers were able to score on two consecutive possessions, making it 46-44 with just 1:41 to go. Claire, who ended the night with 18 points, made another set of free throws, making it a 2 possession game. As the game came to a close, Cedar Springs started throwing up three point shots from everywhere, but to no avail. The Rangers ended the game 50-44.
Although they managed to win, Claire says it was not a great game from the Lady Rangers.
“[Tonight] was not one of our best games, but I was proud of how we never gave up and continued to fight and grab the win.” she said.
After the win tonight, The Rangers will continue on to the district finals. They will play against the Huskies of Forest Hills Northern at Lowell High School, 7 pm tip.
“I’m excited [for district finals], I’m nervous, but excited,” said Prins. “I think it will be a good thing for the girls, they really are excited for the district finals, it’s a huge game. They’ve beat us once, we’ve beat them once, it’s going to be a battle.”