Turning up the defense

By HARLEY TOMLINSON

RCHS sophomore Jessie Ringen showed no ill effects from her ankle injury Saturday against Knox, jumping into passing lanes to collect three steals.

RENSSELAER — Rensselaer Central welcomed back sophomore Jessie Ringen to the lineup Saturday in its home opener with Knox.

Ringen, who had been out the past two weeks with an ankle injury, finished with 11 points in her return, but the Bombers were unable to catch the Redskins in a 59-54 loss.

RCHS (1-3) has now dropped three straight after opening the season with a win at West Central.

Senior Sydney VanMeter had a team-high 15 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Bombers. Sophomore Abby Ahler added 12 points, hitting all eight of her free throws.

“It was good to have Jessie and Morgan (VanMeter) back on the floor to see what they can do,” Bombers coach Wes Radtke said. “Again, if we get these girls working on the same page and get them all healthy, we’re going to get a lot more fun and enjoyment out of watching these girls.”

The Bombers hit 17 of 21 foul shots to 22 of 39 for Knox, which remained unbeaten at 4-0.

“I guess we’re too aggressive,” Radtke said. “Tonight we had 39 fouls. Last night (vs. Hanover Central) we had 47. We have to get better at those things. If officials are going to call those you have to adjust to way they are calling the game. You just can’t keep doing the same thing.”

RCHS trailed by as much as eight points in the third period before back-to-back 3-pointers by Ringen and Lexi Healey had the Bombers within 37-35 with under a minute remaining before the fourth quarter.

But Knox answered with steals on back-to-back possessions, turning both thefts into fastbreak points for a 41-35 lead just before the quarter buzzer.

The closest RCHS got in the fourth period was three points.

“We kind of just lost a little focus there and they took advantage of it,” Radtke said. “We, as a team with the young people on the floor, we have to learn you can’t relax. Just because there’s 38 seconds left doesn’t mean you take a break. This is a learning experience again. I sound like a broken record, but we want to get better before the conference season and the post-season begins.”

Both teams finished with five 3-pointers apiece. Preston Minix had four of Knox’s five treys to finish with 15 points and Sydney VanMeter had three 3s for RCHS.

Felicity Olejniczak had a game-high 19 points for the Redskins, hitting 8 of 12 free throws. Remi Jordan added 11 points, hitting 7 of 13 foul shots.

“The effort was there tonight,” Radtke said. “They battled hard. Credit to Knox for hitting a few more shots than we did. They got the job done.”

The Bombers return to the road Saturday when they face Tri-County.

• At Cedar Lake on Friday night, the Bombers took 18 free throws to 47 for host Hanover Central in a 57-47 loss.

Star Sanchez and Julia Blue went to the line a combined 27 times for Hanover, hitting 17. Sanchez, who was 9 of 14 from the line, finished with a team-high 17 points and Blue (8 of 13 free throws) added 12.

The Wildcats won despite hitting no 3-point baskets. The Bombers had six treys, including three each by Addy Koebcke and VanMeter.

VanMeter had her best offensive performance of the season with 17 points. Koebcke added 14 points.

“She’s trying her best,” Radtke said of VanMeter, “and for a kid who tore her ACL to give two games of 17 and 15 and being a senior leader, I can’t ask any more from her. That’s phenomenal both physically and mentally. It’s a tribute to the kind of kid she is.”

The Bombers were 10 of 18 from the foul line and had more field goals (15-14) than Hanover.

A 23-10 edge in the second quarter by Hanover gave it a 37-22 lead by halftime. The Bombers never got closer than the final score.

Prep Girls Basketball

Saturday, Nov. 16

Knox 59, Rensselaer Central 54

Knox 09 15 17 18—59

Rensselaer 05 15 15 19—54

REDSKINS (59): Riley Messer 1 0-0 2, Alexa Strong 0 0-0 0, Megan Bolen 1 2-5 4, Katie Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0, Remi Jordan 2 7-13 11, Felicity Olejniczak 5 8-12 19, Brianna Korcha 1 0-3 2, Madison Moss 2 2-2 6, Preston Minix 4 3-4 15. Totals: 16 22-41 59.

BOMBERS (54): Jessie Ringen 3 4-4 11, Addy Koebcke 0 0-0 0, Kenzie Moore 0 1-2 1, Lexi Healey 3 1-2 8, Avree Cain 3 1-3 7, Abby Ahler 2 8-8 12, Hannah Redlin 0 0-0 0, Sydney VanMeter 5 2-2 15. Totals: 16 11-23 54.

Three-Point Goals — Knox 5 (Minix 4, Olejniczak), Rensselaer Central 5 (VanMeter 3, Ringen, Healey).

Friday, Nov. 15

Hanover Central 57, Rensselaer Central 47

Rensselaer Central 12 10 07 18—47

Hanover Central 14 23 06 14—57

BOMBERS (47): Addy Koebcke 5 1-3 14, Kenzie Moore 0 1-4 1, Abby Lucas 1 0-0 3, Karly Kaufman 1 0-0 2, Kayle Tiede-Souza 0 0-0 0, Lexi Healey 0 0-0 0, Avree Cain 2 3-5 7, Abby Ahler 1 1-2 3, Hannah Redlin 0 0-0 0, Sydney VanMeter 5 4-4 17. Totals: 15 10-18 47.

WILDCATS (57): Star Sanchez 4 9-14 17, Amanda Schreiber 3 4-7 10, Kaitly Kil 1 2-4 4, Camryn Sterkowitz 1 1-2 3, Julia Blue 2 8-13 12, Allison Mueller 0 1-2 1, Nevaeh Govert 3 4-5 10. Totals: 14 28-47 47.

Three-Point Goals — Rensselaer Central 6 (Koebcke 3, VanMeter 3), Hanover Central 0.