Rangers fall short of GLVC title game

kyle kfanagan.jpeg
Kyle Flanagan attempts to defend the championship.

BRAEDEN RUSSELL | russe032@rangers.uwp.edu

For the fifth straight year, the Rangers made it Evansville, Indiana, for the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) basketball tournament. The fourth seeded Rangers beat the Greyhounds of Indianapolis for the third time this season and got win number 22 for the year.

Tournament game run-down

The game started slow with the Rangers down 12-2 with 16:37 left in the first half, but Verhagen hit back-to-back three-pointers to spark an 8-0 run, which brought the score to 17-16 with Indy leading with 13:48 to play in the opening half. The rest of the half went back and forth with score until Alex Brown hit a 3 pointer with 33 seconds to play in the first half, giving the Rangers a 42-34 halftime lead.

The Rangers built a 13 point lead at one point but the Greyhounds fought their way back in it and trailed by only six with 4:39 left to play. It was at this point that Jake Verhagen took over sparking a 16-8 run and sealing the win for the Rangers 97-82.

Verhagen finished with a career-high 26 points and was 9-14 from the field including 7-12 from the three point line. As a team, the Rangers connected on 60.4% of their shots including 52% from the three point line.

Bellarmine keeps them at a distance

After the win against Indianapolis, the Rangers had to take on top seeded and nationally ranked No. 2 Knights of Bellamine. The final score was 68-79, but the game was close throughout, and the Knights ended the game on a 8-0 run. The Rangers never lead in the game but kept themselves in it despite an abysmal 9-30 from the three point line on the day.

The game started with poor Ranger shooting and early on dominance from the Knights, and every time the Rangers would pull to within striking distance, the Knights would rattle off a quick run. The Knights lead 29-18 in the second half, the Rangers were able to close the game to 35-28 at halftime though.

McCullum hit a three pointer to put the Rangers down 37-33 but the Knights then took off on a seven-point-run to really hurt the Rangers. The Rangers pulled to four points with 6:43 left to play but the Knights went off on an 8-0 run to doom the Rangers.

The game ended with Espen Fjerestad hitting a career high 19 point and 5-8 from the 3 point line. As a team the Rangers shot 25-53 from the field, but the Knights shot 29-51 for 56.9% and 6-14 from the three-point-line. The Knight would go on to beat Lewis in the Final 74-61.

Rangers make the tourney

For the fifth straight year the Rangers made the NCAA D2 Basketball tournament, this year as an No. 8 seed with a record of 22-7. They will face off against the No. 1 seeded and No. 2 Bellarmine Knights for the third time this season and the second time in one week. The last two matchup have both gone for Bellarmine 82-62 and 79-68, the Rangers played the Knights competitively in their match up at the GLVC tournament, but could not get a win.

They will rely on three-point-shooting and leadership from shooters like McCullum, Brown and Verhagen to get a win. Bellarmine as the No. 1 seed will host the entire midwest regional set of games and play Parkside at home. The game is on March 11 at 5 p.m. in Louisville, Kentucky. You can watch the game on GLVCSN, and root on your Rangers as they hope to pull off the upset.

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