Huebner stays on point in patient push for 1,000

Matthew Busch/The Herald
Northeast Dubois senior Bryce Huebner slipped past Barr-Reeve’s Logan James for a layup in Saturday’s Class 1A regional semifinals at Loogootee. The Jeeps lost 49-41 but the day included a milestone for Huebner, who scored his 1,000th career point on a free throw with 1:05 remaining in the game.

By BRENDAN PERKINS
Herald Sports Editor

LOOGOOTEE — Bryce Huebner hadn’t scored. And he had attempted just one shot.

So to begin the second quarter of Saturday’s Class 1A regional semifinal, the Northeast Dubois senior guard motored down a vacant lane, eyes square on the bucket ... and unloaded the ball to teammate Tyler Haas for a layup. Perhaps not the single-minded scoring attitude that would be plausible from a player with such a milestone looming overhead for the last week. Huebner, though, was having no part of the millenial temptation.

To Huebner, the quest to score his 1,000th point was a buried plotline behind wanting to simply win another basketball game. And that’s what left Huebner fluctuating on an emotional see-saw. He notched his 1,000th point on a free throw with 1:05 to play in the game. But a few moments later, his high school career was over after a 49-41 setback to third-ranked Barr-Reeve.

“We were on such a roll toward the end of the season, which is all I cared about. All I cared about was winning and helping everybody else on our team,” said Huebner, who closed with 1,003 points to rank second in Northeast Dubois history behind 2002 graduate Dustin Wolf (1,150). “That was first and most important: Lord’s first, team’s second, and I’m way back, like 50th or something.”

Huebner acknowledged that he pondered the possibility of reaching 1,000 at the season’s outset.

Saturday’s regional contest, though, mirrored the type of maturation that Huebner underwent the second half of the season, Jeep coach Terry Friedman said.

Through three quarters, the Jeeps (12-13) maintained a lead via calculated possessions and capitalizing where they owned an edge: with post players Haas and Cameron Riecker, who combined for 27 points and 18 rebounds. If that meant Huebner rarely hoisted a shot, then so be it.

“We were a little concerned of that as a coaching staff coming in (with Huebner being so close to the 1,000 mark), but we also knew that Bryce Huebner is a team player and he was here to win today,” Friedman said. “I thought he handled himself very well. We executed our gameplan and he stuck with it very well; our whole team did.”

After Barr-Reeve’s big fourth quarter left the Jeeps needing points, Huebner allowed his team to maintain a pulse. He nailed a step-back 25-footer with 2:45 left. With Northeast Dubois behind 45-36 with 65 seconds left, Huebner attracted contact on a drive, and and he etched point No. 1,000 on the second of two clean swishes.

“That’s what my main focus was: knock these two down, give us a chance,” Huebner said. “We fought to the end.”

The Jeeps followed by forcing a turnover, and Huebner’s three-point play with 47.5 seconds remaining brought the Jeeps within 45-41. He finished with 12 points after tallying just two until 4:24 remained in the game.

As Friedman saw it, Huebner’s late flurry may have included some karma points in the patient push for 1,000.

“I think in the end he was rewarded,” Friedman said.

Friedman added that he hopes some college will take a gander at a 5-foot-9 kid from a 1A school. Huebner’s size, or his profile, might not be big. His drive to win is more sizable, and 1,000 points never would have happened had Huebner not tackled his chief goal a week earlier.

“I won’t think about it the rest of the day, I probably won’t think about it tomorrow,” he said of reaching 1,000. “No. 1 was the sectional. That was what our whole goal was, that’s what my goal was, to get a sectional and go out with a bang.”

Can’t keep him down
With the Jeeps trying to drum up a rally, Northeast Dubois guard Jace Terwiske tripped and fouled Barr-Reeve’s Micah Bullock with 2:35 left in the game. The Jeep senior staggered to his feet and grimaced. Limping off the floor, he was replaced with a substitute.

And with 2:24 remaining, Terwiske was right back in the game.

That was essentially the arc of Terwiske’s season. He’s in the game. He’s out of the game. But he’s not going to let a dodgy knee keep him down.

On Dec. 19, Terwiske learned he had a partial tear in the ACL of his right knee. He was a sporadic presence for the season’s remainder, sitting out 11 games. He tweaked and retweaked the knee in the time he did spend on court, but his itch to play went unharmed.

“I know what I can and can’t do, and if I can possibly keep myself from doing that I will, but most of time I just play hard and if (tweaking the injury) happens again, it happens,” Terwiske said. “But I can’t go halfway, because I know my team’s out there counting on me when I’m playing.”

After the diagnosis, Terwiske and his family opted against having surgery. Also the catcher for the baseball team, Terwiske said he might have to play the field somewhere this spring instead of being stationed behind the plate.

But he doesn’t regret letting the knee be.

“That does make it worth it now that we got to regional,” he said. “There after the Wood Memorial game when I tweaked it in sectional, I kind of regretted not having it fixed, but then I came back and we played good and won sectional. So sometimes I regret it, sometimes I don’t.”

Terwiske’s input Saturday was subtle: two points, two assists, one rebound, one steal. But Friedman never calculated Terwiske’s value based on numbers, adding that in both the sectional and regional, Terwiske always provided stability for the Jeeps in operating their halfcourt sets.

The senior’s grit, naturally, was welcomed too.

“It’s one thing to say you love the sport. But when kids really care about each other they’ll do about anything, and I think Jace is a good example of that,” Friedman said. “He could have said, ”˜Look, I’m not playing, I’ve got an ACL injury.’ But I think because of his teammates and wanting to be a part of that with them and knowing that he could help our team, he played through it, and it’s a pretty amazing story.”

Contact Brendan Perkins at bperkins@dcherald.com.




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