Rangers shoot down Tritons

Keith Kingsbury, the veteran Edmonds men’s coach, stopped in the hallway outside Bremer Center Gym before the start of the second half.

“Those guys always shoot like that?” asked Kingsbury, scrunching his eyebrows together and screwing his face up, looking like a combination of Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen.

Kingsbury, one of the NWAACC’s all-time leading characters, wasn’t enjoying the show that the Olympic College Rangers were putting on. OC poured in 20 points in the first 4:30 of the game and ended up draining 11 3-pointers in the first half while racing to a 58-41 advantage.

The drama was over. Edmonds pulled within seven on a couple occasions in the second half, but it seemed like the Rangers took turns stepping up, making big plays and hitting big shots.

The Rangers eventually sailed away with a 105-92 victory on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Fred Grupe, the soft-talking Texas Ranger, made the most noise. The 6-foot-5 Grupe poured in a career-high 37 points, 24 in the opening half when he hit 4 of 5 3-pointers. He was just as effective inside, powering for short-range bank shots. Grupe ended up hitting 12 of 26 field goal-attempts, was 8 of 8 from the foul line and grabbed eight rebounds.

Greg Caldwell had 23 points. Like Grupe, he ended up making five 3-pointers, including one that just beat the buzzer at the end of the first half.

Point guard Robbie Bybee buried 4 of 6 3-pointers and scored 16 points. “I thought Bybee killed us,” Kingsbury said.

Ken Waldo added 15 points and had a team-high 10 rebounds before fouling out late. Sixth-man Angelo Jeanpierre twice ripped the ball out of an Edmonds players’ hands and put it back up for baskets under the hoop.

Kingsbury’s Tritons (5-3, 9-11 overall) were been knocked out of a share of the NWAACC Northern Division lead and into a tie for third with Olympic (5-3, 11-9 overall).

“He’s got ‘em playing hard,” said Kingsbury, who had been forewarned.

He glanced at the stats sheet.

“They got us 50-43 on the boards,” he said. “They were quick to the ball all the way around. We didn’t get a lot of loose balls.”

But the competitive, and sometimes combative Kingsbury, couldn’t help but wonder if this was a one-time deal.

“They always shoot it like that?” he asked again, shaking his head. “Let’s see how they shoot it on the road. If they shoot it on the road like this, we’re all going to be in trouble.”

Even straight-shooting Reece Gliko, Olympic’s first-year coach, allowed that his Rangers, who actually cooled off considerably in the second half, had played perhaps their best games.

“It’s not the best we can play,” said Gliko, who strives for perfection. “We need to work on being consistent. We played very well those first four minutes, and I thought we played well at the end of the first half, too. It’s those 12 minutes in between that could have been better.”

The Rangers fast start didn’t surprise Grupe.

“Offensively, that’s just the way we practice,” said the 21-year-old from Rockport, Texas. “That’s the way we always try to execute. Win the jump ball and go from there.”

Waldo, who’s drawing interest from Forest Grove, Ore.-based University of Pacific, said, “Coach preaches not to look at the scoreboard and you don’t. You just concentrate on executing, playing hard and smart. All of a sudden, you do look up. You see you’re up 20 and it’s definitely a good feeling.”

The Ranger Rowdies, members of OC’s baseball team with a few fastpitch players mixed in, also made their presence known. Packed together in one baseline bleacher, they ragged the visiting team and cheered the Rangers the whole game.

“They were loud,” Gliko said, welcoming the support. “They gave us great energy and we fed off that.”

Kingsbury agreed.

“They played their butts off,” he said. “Give ‘em credit.”

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