ORLEANS-They say most times you learn more from a loss than a win. That will probably be the case as Coach Mark Tinkerâ€™s valiant Ranger girls gave 12-1 Oxbow everything they wanted and more before falling 45-41 at the Don Harter Gymnasium over the weekend.
The Lady Rangers played very good defense for the most part double teaming high scoring Reilly Johnson and boxing out hard against Oxbowâ€™s tall timber inside. Their bigger counterparts made things tough for the Rangers who have only two players at 5â€™9â€ť and most of the roster averages about 5â€™5â€ť per girl. With that said, the LR girls played with intensity and made good decisions for the most part against a quality ball club. Tinker received good efforts from all of his components including tough Ashley Locke, the always consistent and versitile Cailyn Gallup, Caitlyn Bernier, and Emily Comins.
Tinker saw it as a mixed bag as he explained, â€ťWe had a couple of brain cramps at times but the girls played hard. We got the offense spread a round a little and did some good things out there. If we play that way for 32 minutes we are going to win some ball games.â€ť
The Ranger girls, now 8-7, were paced by senior Kylie Atwood with 16. Atwood continues to make strides in terms of timing and shot effectiveness. She knocked down a pair of threeâ€™s and generally had a solid floor game. Atwood is also approaching a career milestone. She stands at 971 points needing 29 to hit the coveted 1000 mark. With five regular season games to go plus playoffs, the odds are good the UVM bound senior will hit it soon. Drew Neal sparked the offense with her hustling style of play finishing with 12.
Oxbow leaves town at 12-1 and head coach Brian Musty was happy, â€śWe needed this win after losing our first game the other night. I see six or seven teams that are capable of winning the Division Three tournament, and Lake Region may not be what they were the last few years but they still have a good ballclub and they fought hard today. Weâ€™re happy to get out of here with the win.â€ť
Reilly Johnson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Olympians. The Ranger girls close out their home regular season schedule with Stowe tonight and BFA next Monday before finishing with three on the road. Northfield, Hazen and Richford round out the 2011-12 regular season.