The UW-Parkside Rangers (8-16, 3-12 within the Great Lakes Valley Conference) faced the Lewis Flyers (15-9, 7-8 in the GLVC) for the second straight game. Their meeting last week was at Lewis University, and saw a 53-64 Parkside loss. The Rangers entered this game on a four game losing skid, and a five straight home losing streak. While it wasn’t the wire to wire game as it was in Lewis, it was another difficult loss for the Men’s Basketball team on Feb. 11 at DeSimone Gymnasium, and the Rangers fell to the Lewis University, 58-63.
“We did so many things well,” said Head Coach Luke Reigel after the game, “but obviously not enough.”
The previous game featured Kevin Senechalle, who led the Rangers in scoring with fifteen points. Senechalle also had five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a blocked shot for the game. Both teams had a hard time getting the twine, as Lewis shot at 41% and Parkside shot 36%. The rebound battle went to Lewis as well, as they outrebounded 40-32. Still, it was a wire to wire Lewis victory. The return game at DeSimone Gymnasium wasn’t the case.
The first half set a stage for what the teams wanted to do. Lewis had thirty six total points in the first half, and, of those points, 22 came in the paint. The Rangers had ten shots from downtown in the first half, and would shoot for twenty-two three point shots in the game. Another notable statistic was the point distribution for both teams. There was only one player who scored in double digits in the first half, and both benches were contributing to the first half effort.
The visiting Flyers slowly got the better of the Rangers in the first half, stretching a ten point lead out in the late goings. What made the game gut wrenching for the Rangers was their persistence to get back into the game only to not stretch out a lead. The Rangers faced a twelve point deficit twice in the second half, and either closed it or went ahead on both occasions. The Rangers were able to fight out of a hole, but seemingly hit a wall as the gap closed.
The Rangers final push saw it’s top players really start to get going after a quiet first half. Sophmore guard Grant Johnson, who leads all GLVC sophomores in scoring (15.9ppg), put together a run with freshman guard Jeremy Saffold and sophomore guard Sam Katula. The Rangers were in possession of the ball while within two points of Lewis’ lead with under two minutes remaining. The Rangers sophomore guard Grant Johnson would turn the ball over on a pass just missing it’s target.
The Rangers fifth straight loss, and sixth straight at home, is a tough one to swallow. It was a game where Kevin Senechalle and Jeremy Saffold both put up ten point games, and saw other strong games from Sam Katula, Grant Johnson, and Ryan Callozzo. The simple issue with this game, which saw the Rangers win the turnover margin (+6), is that the Rangers were 21-61 (34.4%) from the field, while Lewis, who won the rebound battle by eight boards, were 26-54 (48.1%). The chances were many, but not being capitalized. The lead was big, but the Rangers found ways to get back into it. Simply put, it was a tough loss to take for Head Coach Luke Reigel and the Rangers.
“It’s just a matter of making plays when they’re there to be made,” said Head Coach Luke Reigel, “unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.”
“We played so much better than we did on Saturday,” said Head Coach Luke Reigel, “and we did so many things well tonight. I told the guys that it boils down to two things. With about seven or eight minutes to go, we’re down one, and had three great looks from three and missed them all. That’s gonna happen. Then with two minutes to go, we have eight turnovers all night, and three of them come in the last two minutes. You just can’t win games like that.”
The Rangers next game is on the road against Quincy University this coming Monday night. The Quincy University Hawks lead the North Division of the GLVC, but are coming off of an overtime loss to St. Joseph’s. The Rangers will return home Thursday February 18th against those same St. Joseph’s University Pumas who beat Quincy in OT.