Disappointed Wildcats get ‘a much-needed loss’

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Jasper's Reece Milligan attempts to shoot the ball over Tell City's Braeden Beard during Friday's boys basketball game in Jasper. Tell City defeated Jasper 48-33 as the Wildcats were unable to fully catch a groove in the loss. Milligan and Jared Englert both finished with eight points each for the Wildcats in the defeat. For more photos from the game, click here.


JASPER — Just when you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, feeling pretty confident, figuring you’re on par with some of the better basketball teams in southern Indiana, reality steps up and knocks you down a few pegs.

Such was the case Friday night when the Jasper Wildcats hosted Tell City.

“You take a tough loss on the chin, and that allows you to redirect things,” Jasper coach John Goebel said, trying to dissect the Wildcats’ 48-33 defeat, only the team’s second loss of the young season. “We had a couple of nice wins early in the season — we knocked off Evansville Harrison, we knocked off Evansville Reitz, and I think we started feelin’ like we were already good, we thought we were where we needed to be, and that’s clearly wrong.

“A loss like this has a way of helping refocus and redirect a team, and it also gives us plenty of things we have to work on. And I know our guys will respond, they’ll be fine. It’s a tough loss, but it’s probably a much-needed loss.”

Goebel took the opportunity to impersonate Mr. Obvious when he pointed to some of the determining factors in the outcome: The Marksmen were true to their mascot, hitting 10 of 20 three-point shots, while the Wildcats were a woeful 1 of 15 from beyond the arc; and Jasper’s offensive effort and execution “was just poor all the way around.”

To be sure, when a team loses at home by 15 points, Goebel admits “there’s something wrong.”

“They were, quite simply, better than us tonight in all aspects of the game.” Goebel said of the Marksmen. “There’s no shame in losing to Tell City, I consider them one of the better teams in our area this year.

“What we’re disappointed in is our lack of execution on the offensive end and our overall effort. We didn’t play like a basketball team tonight. We played like a bunch of individuals. Our body language was bad, our effort was not as good as it has been. So we’ve got some things to fix.

“I thought our defensive effort and execution for a lot of the game was pretty decent. We gave ourselves [the opportunity to get] a win on the defensive end, but offensively we just weren’t there,” the coach assessed.

“I thought we played with a lot less energy tonight. I thought our communication, our ball movement, the execution was just poor all the way around offensively. Some of it was our mental approach to the game. We played a little scared. We didn’t shoot the ball with confidence, and we paid for that.”

The Wildcats (4-2) will begin fixing any deficiencies Wednesday when they return to practice in preparation for weekend games at Evansville Central and hosting Evansville North.

Tell City hit a pair of three-pointers and a couple of layups for a 10-0 lead to start the game, before Jared Englert hit two buckets in the paint and Reece Milligan connected on a 12-footer to trim the deficit to 10-6. But the Marksmen (5-1) gave themselves some breathing room by the quarter’s end for a 14-6 cushion.

Jasper's Jackson Kabrick drives up the court during Friday's boys basketball game in Jasper. Kabrick was held to just four points in Friday night's defeat. For more photos from the game, click here.

Englert hit a couple of free throws to open the second stanza, then Quentin Harmon converted on a tip in, and Milligan and Jackson Kabrick scored back-to-back buckets to get Jasper back to within four at 18-14 with three minutes to go before intermission. But two more Tell City three-pointers and consecutive layups by Milligan made it a 24-18 margin at the half.

The Wildcats again pulled to within four points twice midway through the third period when Englert and Elliott Hopf recorded a pair of buckets and Harmon registered Jasper’s only three-pointer of the night, but three more Tell City three-pointers frustrated the Wildcats en route to a 35-27 score heading into the final quarter.

The Marksmen all but put the game away in the first three minutes of the fourth frame with a pair of free throws and two more three-pointers, before buckets by Hopf and Kabrick stopped the bleeding, albeit temporarily. After a 10th three-pointer and a layup, the Marksmen coasted to the victory.

Reece Milligan and Jared Englert both finished with a team-high eight points for Jasper in Friday night’s loss.

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