4th quarter run propells Park past Fergus

Neil Patrick Healy
After giving up the lead for the first time since the final minute of the first quarter, the Park High boys responded by going on a 21-5 run in final seven minutes of the game to take a 69-56 win over the Fergus Golden Eagles Saturday. 
The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with sophomore Brendon Johnson hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer to put Park up 19-17. The Rangers were able to keep it going for the rest of the first half, thanks to good guard play and hitting six 3-pointers, and took a 34-28 lead into halftime. 
“Our guards had a great passing half,” said Park head coach Layne Glaus. “When the ball moves quick, there are more opportunities for uncontested looks. Then we had guys ready to shoot on the catch and knocked down some big perimeter shots.”
The third quarter saw Fergus storm back, going on a 21-12 run to cut the lead to 50-49. A minute into the fourth quarter, Fergus took a 51-50 lead, its first lead since the first quarter. Glaus said some lapses on defense by Park helped Fergus storm back into the game. 
“We became stagnant on defensive,” he said. “For us to execute our defense, we need all five guys in a stance, in the right position, communicating with each other, and giving full effort. It only takes one guy losing focus and effort for the defense to fall apart.”
The Rangers made adjustments on defense and put one of the better stretches of play so far this season, closing out the fourth quarter on a 21-5 run to take a 13-point win. 
Park’s shooting made a big difference in the game, with the Rangers making 11 3-pointers and going 14-of-20 from the free throw line, including 8-of-10 from the line. Shooting was key against Fergus, which runs a tough zone defense that Park knew it had to break to win. 
“Fergus understands that there length and athleticism is there strength,” Glaus said. “If they could sit in a zone all game and keep the ball on the perimeter, they know they have a good chance to win. Our guys hit some big shots early and eventually took them out of their zone. Once they matched up, we took advantage and had great attacks at the rim. The more attacks at the hoop, the better off we are offensively.”
The Rangers’ scoring leader was senior Rydell Floyd, who had 21 of his game-leading 24 points in the second half. Glaus said Floyd’s attacking the rim in the third quarter resulted in the huge second-half performance. 
“He had some great attacks early in the 3rd when the defense was unloaded,” Glaus said. “Once you see the ball go through the hoop a few times your confidence builds. He continued to play off of his teammates’ ball movement and purposeful cuts and the result was high-percentage shots within the offense.”
Johnson was second on the team with 18, nine of which came in the fourth quarter and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. 
Glaus also noted how the home crowd was such a big factor in his team’s win.
“The guys feed off of the crowd so, it was cool to see how many people showed up,” he said.
The Rangers sit at first place in the Central A conference at 8-2 with a 3-0 conference record. They will look to improve on both with a conference home game Friday against Havre.