Girls basketball: Waterford stops New Knoxville in Division IV title game


By Jose Nogueras - [email protected]



New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel, left, and Waterford’s Mackenzie Suprano compete for a loose ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.

New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel, left, and Waterford’s Mackenzie Suprano compete for a loose ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.


Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville’s Carsyn Henschen puts up a shot against Waterford’s Lilly Franchino during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.


Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville’s Becca Leffel, right, and Waterford’s Cara Taylor compete for the ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.


Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier yells instructions during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Hegemier concluded his tenure as New Knoxville’s coach on Saturday.


Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

DAYTON – New Knoxville’s defense did its part but the Rangers’ offense never found a rhythm and it led to a 35-26 loss to Waterford in the Division IV state championship game Saturday.

The Rangers finish with a 27-3 mark and their second runner-up showing in school history. Waterford, 26-3, adds a second state title with the first one coming in 2016.

New Knoxville shot 20.1 percent (9 of 48) from the field and 25 percent (5 of 20 from behind the 3-point arc. Five of the Rangers’ nine baskets came from 3-point range. The 25 points was the lowest offensive output for New Knoxville this season. The previous low was 32 points in a win against Anna.

In their two regular season losses this year, the Rangers scored less than 40 points.

“We kind of (got off) to a slow start,” New Knoxville head coach Tim Hegemier said. “Give them credit. I think their defense had a lot to do with it; pressure defense and we didn’t recognize it really well. We missed some easy shots inside again, and you can’t miss those against teams like this at this stage.

“I told the girls after the game that there was nothing to hang your heads about. You are probably one of the most successful girls programs that came out of our area as far as two sports in volleyball and basketball. We just about got it in basketball and it would have been a nice way to go out but it is what it is. I love them to death and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.”

New Knoxville, who had won the state title in volleyball, was seeking to be only the eighth team in state history to accomplish the double state crown feat.

“Defensively, we couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Waterford head coach Jerry Close said. “That is what we expected on the defensive end. Offensively, their defense rotated very well. They were bigger than us, and it caused us a lot of problems. But I thought the girls made the right plays at the right time and when they got close we hit a shot. That is what good teams do.”

Neither team had a player score in double digits. The Rangers’ Carsyn Henschen, who snared 10 rebounds, finished with nine points to lead her team and Haley Fledderjohann had eight points.

For Waterford, Kendall Sury scored eight and Cara Taylor added eight points.

But it was the Wildcats who came up with big buckets in key situations that proved to be the difference.

“We had some wide open looks also we just didn’t drop them and they did,” said Hegemier, who has decided to retire as New Knoxville’s coach. “That is basically the story of the game. They hit their outside shots, and we didn’t. I think we only shot 20 percent so you are not going to win too many games that way.”

Despite the poor shooting, New Knoxville’s defense kept the Rangers close until late in the fourth quarter when Waterford eventually pulled away.

The Rangers got off to an ominous start when they scored zero points in the first eight minutes of the game. But New Knoxville managed to go into halftime down 17-9.

At the onset of the third quarter, New Knoxville’s defense stepped up its intensity and limited the Wildcats to four points but the Rangers managed only nine points and going into the final eight minutes, Waterford held a 21-18 advantage

With a solid showing in the third quarter, it looked as though New Knoxville had finally found its way and when Avery Henchsen opened the fourth with a quick bucket to cut the lead to one, 21-20, it appeared the Rangers were ready for a run.

Instead, the Wildcats countered with an 8-1 run to extend the lead back to 29-21 and the Rangers never seemed to re-capture the momentum after that.

“I think they had us rattled a little bit and maybe partly it is my fault and maybe I didn’t prepare them well enough. I thought I did,” Hegemier said. “There is time we wanted to run certain sets and it didn’t get done. You have to give credit to them. Right off the bat they were picking us up half court or so and that was their idea, to put pressure on the outside so we couldn’t get in our offense, and it worked.”

New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel, left, and Waterford’s Mackenzie Suprano compete for a loose ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_Knoxville-RP-001.jpgNew Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel, left, and Waterford’s Mackenzie Suprano compete for a loose ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville’s Carsyn Henschen puts up a shot against Waterford’s Lilly Franchino during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_Knoxville-RP-003.jpgNew Knoxville’s Carsyn Henschen puts up a shot against Waterford’s Lilly Franchino during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville’s Becca Leffel, right, and Waterford’s Cara Taylor compete for the ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_Knoxville-RP-006.jpgNew Knoxville’s Becca Leffel, right, and Waterford’s Cara Taylor compete for the ball during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

New Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier yells instructions during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Hegemier concluded his tenure as New Knoxville’s coach on Saturday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/03/web1_Knoxville-RP-008.jpgNew Knoxville coach Tim Hegemier yells instructions during the Division IV state final on Saturday at University of Dayton Arena. Hegemier concluded his tenure as New Knoxville’s coach on Saturday. Richard Parrish | AIM Media Midwest

By Jose Nogueras

[email protected]

Reach Lima News sports editor Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.

Reach Lima News sports editor Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.