Strong defense leads girls varsity basketball past Forest Hills Eastern 47-23 in Cornerstone Holiday Tournament

Tommy Spaletto

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Twenty-four steals would be the difference-maker in girls varsity basketball’s 47-23 win over the Forest Hills Eastern Hawks. Junior Zoe Lipke would lead that category, getting 9 steals on her own. Sophomore Theryn Hallock would pick up 7 steals and junior Ava Metaj picked up 5.

The Lady Rangers forced the Hawks into 45 turnovers, which would eventually lead to a runaway in the fourth quarter. 

On offense, the Rangers really struggled to shoot the ball. The team shot a disappointing 24% on the game but managed to hit some big shots late to pull away from FHE. Zoe helped FHC keep in the game with her offense by being aggressive and trying to get easy shots to fall. 

“Offensively, it was pretty rough for us [to score],” Zoe said, who ended with a team-high 15 points. “A lot of our shots weren’t falling, so I just put it in my that I had to drive and find my shot in the paint.” 

The start of the game was one that was not ideal for the Rangers. FHC shot an abysmal 1-21 from the field including 0-10 from three just in the first quarter. The only points scored in that quarter was a layup from Ava and one free throw from Zoe. 

The shooting woes kept hurting FHC in the second quarter, as the team shot 1-13 from the field. Even as the Rangers took fewer threes, even uncontested shots were not falling for the Rangers. The Hawks were able to rebound the basketball very well in the second half and got some good looks to fall. At the half, the Lady Rangers had their lowest point total of the season with 6. However, intensity and attention to detail were keys to a successful second half. 

“We just didn’t make a lot of shots [in the first half] and didn’t have very good shot selection,” head coach Kristina Prins said. “We caused 45 turnovers, which was awesome, and it was fun to watch. So just our intensity was key to that second half.” 

The beginning of the second half set the tone for the rest of the game. The Rangers forced a turnover on the Hawks’ very first possession to really set the tone for the second half. The aggressiveness on defense turned into many fast-break points for Theryn and Zoe to go score. FHC went on an 8-0 run towards the end of the quarter, and FHE really struggled to even get the ball past half court. 

The Rangers would duplicate the intensity on defense in the fourth quarter, as they outscored the Hawks 26-5 in the final eight minutes of the game. FHC finally got some three-point shots to fall in the fourth thanks to some big shots down the stretch from Zoe and fellow junior Katy Majick. FHC was also able to get to the free-throw line a lot and shot 10/10 in the fourth quarter alone. 

The team was able to go on a couple more big runs and put FHE away with some big shots and backbreaking offensive rebounds. FHC grabbed a total of 22 offensive rebounds throughout the game, with Zoe and Ava leading the charge with 6 rebounds each. The clock expired and the Rangers defeated Forest Hills Eastern 47-23 thanks to a well-played second half. 

“The best part about that win [was] definitely how we turned around in the second half and how we played our game along with playing as a team,” Theryn said. 

This win helps the Rangers improve to 4-3 on the season as league play approaches. FHC now has a bit of time off before they open up with the Greenville Yellow Jackets in two weeks to begin their run for an OK White Conference championship. 

“Having our whole team next game will be huge,” Prins said. “We missed two starters this game, so it will be nice just to have everyone there.”