Coach says the team must work on winning hustle plays for 50-50 balls.
Criminal justice freshman Derek Miller led all scorers with 19 points, including four free throws on five attempts, but it was not enough for The Rangers to pull out a victory against rival St. Philip’s College Feb. 7 in Candler. The Tigers won 75-67.
Miller, who plays forward for The Rangers, said he believes the team played well despite the loss.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” he said. “That’s the best game we played all semester.”
The Rangers trailed the Tigers 27-33 at halftime and rallied to take the lead 42-41 5 minutes into the second half but would trail indefinitely thereafter.
The team was down by as many as 10 points late in the second half and managed to cut the deficit to 2 with 1:51 left but had the door shut on their comeback hopes thanks to untimely turnovers on offense.
Coach Sam Casey said his team played well on the defensive side of the ball, but he would like to see more hustle plays throughout the game.
“I would have liked to see us dive for more loose balls,” he said. “Those are possessions … and it’s twofold. Its negative 2 for them, cause we take it out of their hands, and it’s a potential plus-2 for us; it’s a 2-point swing.”
Casey said this week’s set of practices will include a special emphasis on winning hustle plays for loose balls.
“It’s called diving school,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we work on diving in there and getting those loose balls because that’s the difference between wins and losses a lot of the time.”
Psychology freshman Hyshoné Fisher, who plays at the guard position and is team captain, contributed 16 points with four foul shots on five attempts from the free throw line.
Fisher said the team must work on late game situations, pointing specifically to costly turnovers and defensive rebounding.
Out rebounding the opposition late in the game comes down to effort and energy, he said.
Paul Lede, coordinator of student success for the department of student life at St. Philip’s oversees the athletics department for the school.
Lede refused to comment to The Ranger or provide any player information for the Tigers’ players.
The Rangers’ next game is against Palo Alto College at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 in Candler.