Cats stumble, can’t recover in loss to Tigers

Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Jasper's Jared Englert took a tumble in pursuit of the ball during Friday's boys basketball game in Jasper. Evansville Memorial defeated Jasper 59-47. For more photos from the game, click here.


JASPER — The growing pains keep rolling in for Jasper.

There were times in their game against Evansville Memorial when they stood toe-to-toe with the Tigers, and others where lapses in concentration led to bad shots or turnovers. The lapses caught up to Jasper in the end, as the Wildcats (1-2) lost to the Tigers 59-47.

Things started out pretty evenly for the Wildcats, as the Tigers (2-0) only led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter. But Memorial would jump out against Jasper in the second, going on a 12-point run to end the quarter and put the Tigers ahead 32-23 at halftime.

Jasper would open the third with an 8-3 run to get within four points of Memorial, but they could never maintain the momentum long enough to overtake the Tigers. Memorial would outscore Jasper 27-24 in the second half, including a 13-7 run in the last four and a half minutes to close out the Wildcats.

Jasper’s game plan coming into the game was to keep Memorial from driving to the lane for opportunities at the rim. They wanted to turn the Tigers into a jump shooting team, but Memorial responded by shooting five three pointers and going 82 percent (14-17) from the free throw line.

Memorial’s junior forward Sam Devault ended the game with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting, which included three buckets from behind the arc. Senior guard Dylan Penn also finished with 17 points, going 7-of-15 from the floor.

Junior forward Jared Englert paced Jasper with 17 points behind a 7-for-11 performance. Junior guard Reece Milligan and sophomore guard Jackson Kabrick both chipped in nine points for the game.

“I thought for the most part we did a decent job, but we had some slip ups here and there,” said Milligan. “We just need to come back in practice next week and fix that.”

“We’re still getting our feet under us,” added Kabrick. “We got a lack of experience (since) we don’t have that many starters coming back. So we got to work as a team and start getting W’s.”

Jasper coach John Goebel tipped his hat to Memorial, who he believes could be a 20-win team this season. He was not angry that his boys lost to a better team, but he was disappointed in how they lost.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed about when you lose to a team, but the difficult part is we had chances to win,” he said. “People not knowing what play we’re running; people doing their own thing. We just didn’t execute which is a recurring theme for us. We have to have 32 minutes of guys pulling together and being on the same page.”

Another factor which contributed to the loss was Jasper’s inability to get into a consistent offensive rhythm for significant periods of time over the course of the game.

There were many times when the boys would pass the ball around the court looking for something to happen, only to get stuck in non-scoring positions where players would struggle to shoot over two or three defenders, or force outside shots which would not fall.

“One thing is trying to get setup in our plays. We’ve been having trouble with that the past couple of weeks,” said Milligan. “I really felt like we were rushed on the offensive end, we probably could have slowed it down a little bit and gotten better shots.”

Goebel said it’s still early in the season and there is plenty of time to fix the issues he saw on the court. But it’s going to take players stepping up and committing to practicing hard during the week, instead of looking to flip a switch on game nights.

“We need leadership and experience,” said Goebel. “We’re just three games into it. It’s been really difficult to get into a rhythm. We’re just going to have to keep our nose to the grindstone, and keep working hard to correct problems that we have.”

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