Cats, Raiders show off new-look squads at shootoutJune 26, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
HUNTINGBURG — High school basketball season may be more than five months down the road but if you stopped by Huntingburg on Wednesday afternoon, you would think it’s right around the corner.
Southridge boys basketball coach Mark Rohrer helped to organize the Southridge Varsity Shootout which brought together 20 varsity squads from several different conferences to play in five different venues — Huntingburg Memorial Gym, Southridge High School gym, Southridge High School fieldhouse, Huntingburg Elementary gym and Holland Elementary gym.
Jasper and Southridge were the only two local teams who participated but there were several schools from nearby who joined in such as Barr-Reeve, Loogootee, North Daviess, Springs Valley, and Washington. Five Evansville schools (Bosse, Central, Christian, Harrison, North) competed with two teams driving a long way just to get to southern Indiana (Wapahani is three and a half hours away, Bellmont is a four and a half hour drive).
The Wildcats had an extremely successful day of basketball as they were victorious in all three of their games. The Cats defeated Wapahani 50-41, outlasted South Knox 34-27 and cruised past Springs Valley 49-37.
Jasper head coach John Goebel was impressed with what he saw from his team but also reminded everyone to not take too much stock into what happens during the summer.
“We don’t really worry too much about the summer. These kids are getting pulled into two, three different sports so they’re spending their whole summer running from one sport to the next,” Goebel said. “Once the season starts in November, how many games you won in the summer is irrelevant. But if you can show that you will be competitive and do whatever it takes to win games, that’s what you want to take away from summer ball. I think we accomplished that.”
Jasper displayed a new look lineup at today’s shootout. While Jackson Kabrick and Quentin Harmon both started for the Wildcats last season, the trio of Elliott Hopf, Carter Stamm and Tanner Erny started alongside them. This was the first time this summer the Cats have had the majority of their varsity roster.
Kabrick is expected to be the Wildcats’ leader this season. He averaged a team best 12.7 points per game last year on a Jasper team that made it to the regional round after winning their first sectional championship since 2014.
“We’ve got a lot of new guys coming in and today was nice to get a feel of how they’re going to play,” Kabrick said. “We have to get our chemistry ready so we can know how the season is going to go.”
Harmon had a solid day for the Cats as he showed strengths both inside the post as well as around the perimeter. Both of those areas are what Harmon focused on this offseason.
“I want to continue to get stronger in the post and work on a little more guard skills,” Harmon said. “That way, whenever I come out to the perimeter I can be a triple threat.”
For the Southridge Raiders, they had a few close games during their experience at the shootout. They were defeated 45-44 in overtime by Evansville Central then bounced back for a 45-40 win over Bellmont. However, they ended the day on a sour note as they were outscored 34-9 in the second half en route to a 67-42 loss to Wapahani.
Rohrer realizes these summer games aren’t about the final score, they’re about seeing growth. Just like Jasper, the Raiders played with three new starters (Camden Gasser, Kaden Neukam, Carter Whitehead) with two returning starters (Colson Montgomery and Garrett Voegerl).
“We’ve got a really competitive team and we’ve got guys that really understand how to accomplish things on the defensive end. I don’t think many teams will score 50 against us,” Rohrer said. “Offensively, it’ll be a work in progress but we have pieces capable of playing well together. I think we’ll play an unselfish brand of basketball that will be fun for people to watch and will also hopefully win us a lot of games.”
One player who has spent a lot of time working on his game this summer is Voegerl. After averaging just 3.7 points per game last season, he wanted to become more of an offensive player. He scored in double-digits against both Bellmont and Wapahani and also hit several three-pointers.
“I’ve been working on my shot lately and I feel like it’s worked out pretty good so far,” Voegerl said. “I’ve still got to work on my passing though and keeping my eyes up the court.”
Montgomery, who is expected to once again carry the majority of the scoring load for Southridge, scored 63 points in three games including two 25-point outings against Evansville Central and Bellmont.
What does Montgomery want to improve about his game still?
“Just keep moving without the ball, no one wants to play defense on someone who just runs around the whole game,” Montgomery said with a laugh. “I’ve also got to work on my mid-range jumper because that will help me, guys will try to stay in the lane so I can’t get easy layups.”
But the Raiders all had to agree on what was the most impressive part of their performance on Wednesday — toughness.
“Just the grit we have, it shows up when we rebound and play defense,” Voegerl said. “It’s going to be a big part of our team this season.”
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