Another solo act stings JeepsJanuary 6, 2014
By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer
DUBOIS — Sometimes in basketball, there’s just not much you can do.
Effort is always nice, execution comes in handy, but when an opposing player gets hot and can’t find anything but the bottom of the net, what do you do?
If it’s Northeast Dubois, as it was on Saturday night when Class 1A No. 1 Barr-Reeve bombarded the Jeeps with 11 3-pointers — seven from guard Micah Bullock — in its 64-45 win, then you keep playing, you keep hustling and you pray the offensive onslaught wilts sometime in the near future.
The Vikings, propelled by a 34-point performance from Bullock, hijacked any potential Jeep momentum early with a barrage of 3-pointers — quickly dispelling any inklings of an upset in Dubois. Bullock, who scored 20 points in the first quarter, is the second Barr-Reeve player to drop 30-plus on Northeast Dubois (2-7, 1-1 Blue Chip Conference) in the last two regular-season matchups. Last season, Addison Wagler unloaded 32 points in the Vikings’ 17-point win.
“Our gameplan was to take away 3s from both Bullock and (Duncan Roy),” Jeep coach Terry Friedman said. “I thought with the Roy kid we did a really good job … but with the Bullock kid we did a not-so-good job on. He found a groove there, and it was awfully good. We lost him a few times.”
The first minute and a half couldn’t have gone much better for Northeast Dubois. The Jeeps scored on their first three possessions, all by bullying their way inside and converting layups. When Center Eric Dodson zipped a pass to a cutting Gage Knies under the basket for two points, Northeast Dubois was up 6-0.
The lead lasted about a minute.
Bullock dropped in a trey from right of the top of the key on the next possession. Two series later, there was Bullock in the same spot with another triple. He scored the first nine points for the Vikings (9-0, 3-0) and converted five 3-pointers on six attempts in the first quarter. In that same stretch, the early Jeep success on the block disappeared and a mixture of turnovers (three in the quarter) and missed shots amounted to a 17-2 Viking run. Tyler Haas banged in a layup while fouled with 1:30 remaining in the quarter for the first Jeep field goal in exactly five minutes. They exited the period down 23-13.
Bullock slowed in the second quarter with just two free throws — and zero 3-point attempts — but a nine-point quarter from Northeast Dubois failed to leave an impressionable dent in Barr-Reeve’s lead.
The scoring sprees from opposing offenses is something Northeast Dubois should be used to by now. Heritage Hills and Forest Park unleashed quarters of 29 and 31 points, respectively, in consecutive home losses for the Jeeps. It was also the second time a player has scored more than 30 points against Northeast Dubois this season.
“We really need to start covering,” Haas said. “It seems like whenever we play teams, they’ve always got one guy. For instance in the Orleans game, (Cale Hall) had 38 against us. We just need to stop that one guy who gets hot against us.”
Bullock finished 7-of-9 from 3-point range and 11-of-16 from the field. Guard Jon McMullen also delivered a mini hot streak of his own, converting 4-of-4 shots from deep. Barr-Reeve got up by as much as 29 points in the second half, but the Jeeps converted 3s down the stretch from Jacob Gress and Tristan Linne — the Jeeps’ only triples of the game — and some heady inside work from Haas (team-high 14 points) brought the margin to 62-43 with two minutes remaining.
The production from Northeast Dubois in the paint was notable, even if the shots weren’t falling. Haas, for instance, went 4-of-13 from the field but shot 13 free throws, although the senior converted only six.
“I felt like I did pretty good (inside), minus the free throws,” Haas said. “ I really need to work on that this season.”
Ultimately, Friedman was reasonable after the loss, commending Bullock and the Vikings and admitting his own team was still returning from a batch of sickness over the holiday break.
“Our team improved,” Friedman said. “That’s a really good team we played tonight. They’re very fundamentally sound. They shot the ball extremely well tonight, but I saw our team grow up a little bit tonight.”
“We’ve had some guys sick, we’ve had some injuries,” he added. “The guys are starting to get back. We’re not 100 percent yet on our health but we’re getting there, and I think it showed tonight that we’ve got some enthusiasm. The guys are fighting out there and if they do that, good things will come.”
Jeep senior forward Cameron Riecker finished with four assists and six points and went 4-of-4 from the foul line. Reserve Tristan Linne added six points as well and Dodson scored five points.
Sitting at 2-7 through the first nine games, the Jeeps have actually duplicated the same slow start that plagued them a year ago. The good news though is the 2012-13 team eventually finished with a sectional championship. The bad news is the second half of this season won’t get much easier with two battles against ranked teams with Perry Central and Paoli and two games versus county rivals in Southridge and Jasper. But if the experience from last season taught Northeast Dubois anything, it’s progress doesn’t immediately produce results.
“With each loss, you’ve got to look at it, say, ”˜Hey, as long as we improve each game ... we’re going to be ready come March,” Haas said. “We feel like we improved tonight.”
Contact Joseph Fanelli
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