The Reading Ranger JV boys avenged their only loss of the season by edging the Homer Trojans in their final game of the season by a score of 34-31. Early in the game, it felt like there was a lid on the basket for the Rangers, as they were unable to get a single field goal to fall in the first quarter. Jacob Hamilton and Jesse Cabrera did step up to the free throw line and each go 2 for 2 from the stripe, and the Rangers found themselves trailing 8-4 after one. The Rangers found some inspiration in the seemingly uninspiring score. In their previous matchup with the Trojans, it was the Rangers who led 8-4 after one quarter, but foul trouble throughout that game hurt the Rangers, and Homer was able to march to a 55-47 win. The hope for Reading was that they too could flip that 8-4 deficit after one into a Victory.
The Rangers continued to play good defense in the 2nd quarter, and about half way through the quarter they were able to take their first lead after Jesse Cabrera battled for an offensive rebound then found Alex Jackson all alone on the block for an easy lay in. The score put the Rangers up 11-10. A few moments later, after some back and forth play, the Rangers once again took the lead, on a Zac Affholter 3 point play, 16-14. This would also be the half time score, and the Rangers would never again relinquish their lead.
The Rangers came out to start the 2nd half on fire. Off a set play to start the half, Jacob Hamilton found Brady Kling in the corner, and Kling buried a three pointer. With some confusion on the defensive end, Homer was able to answer with a 2 point bucket, but the Rangers came right back, and Kling made a sweet pass to Maverick Messenger who was able to step through some traffic and lay one in. The Rangers defense got a stop on the next possession, and once again, Kling got free on the wing, and buried another three point basket. In three possessions, the Rangers were able to expand their lead from 2 points to eight points. A few possessions later, Kling decided to do it again, and knocked down another triple, this time from the other wing, expanding the Ranger lead to 27-16. From that point forward, offense became very tough for both squads. Homer would only go on to make five more field goals the rest of the game, and the Rangers would only make 2 more the rest of the game. Reading took a 29-17 lead into the final quarter, and it was just enough to get the job done. Homer played super physical the last quarter, and sent the Rangers to the line 10 times. The Rangers were only able to knock down 3 of those 10, but none bigger than Kling’s 2 for 2 trip that pushed the lead to 34-29.
When asked about the game, Coach Ringman indicated that during their pre-game conversation they talked about March Madness, and how fun it is because game after game you just see kids playing their hearts out and laying everything on the line for their teammates, but what’s special about this team is you don’t have to wait until March. Just walk into the gym any time they are playing, whether it’s in practice or on game night, and that’s what you see.
The win improved the Rangers to 13-1 on the season, and 12-1 in Big 8 play. GREAT SEASON RANGERS!!