Englert’s block party powers Cats over Alices

Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Jasper’s Jared Englert battled with Vincennes Lincoln’s Spencer Corrona and Hunter Hopwood for a rebound in the Wildcats 61-49 win over the Alices on Friday night in Jasper. Englert’s defensive prowess helped to push the Wildcats to their first conference win of the year and a win in one of the most heavily anticipated matches of the season. For more photos from the game, click here.


JASPER — Jared Englert has made plenty of opponents feel the wrath of his defensive prowess in the paint.

From slowing down Gibson Southern’s six-foot-seven power forward Wes Obermeier to patrolling the painted area against Evansville Central, Englert has sent shots away from some premier post players in southern Indiana.

But when Englert swatted away Vincennes Lincoln’s Isaac Lane’s shot all the way to the hallway behind the basket, he couldn’t help but feel that block may have been one of the biggest ones yet.

“It was the best feeling ever,” said Englert about the block. Englert finished with seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the Wildcats 61-49 victory over the Alices on Friday night in Jasper for their first Big Eight victory of the season. “Those blocks just make you feel really good and it makes you feel like you can play with a chip on your shoulder after that.”

Even though Englert only scored seven points, the intensity he provided on the defensive end is something that Wildcat head coach John Goebel loves to see and expects to see more as the season progresses.

“Defensively he’s such a good combination and when he decides to truly compete, there aren’t many people we play against who can stop that,” Goebel said. “He’s a very strong and athletic kid when he’s zeroed in. I think that’s a good lesson to him and all young players, is that if you put the energy into your defense, you’ll be surprised how much better you start to play on both ends of the court.”

The Wildcats (4-4, 1-0 Big Eight) knew they’d be in for an aggressive battle with the Alices because as rivalries and conference games go, this is one that both teams want to win — badly.

The student sections for Jasper and Vincennes Lincoln were in full force throughout the game. From Jasper shouting chants supporting the prowess of their baseball and tennis teams to Vincennes Lincoln’s section holding up a sign that simply read “33-20” — the score of the Wildcats loss to the Alices during football season in the fall.

For Wildcat senior Justin Persohn, going out with a win against the Alices in the final time he’ll play them in a basketball jersey was a good feeling.

“We always want to beat our rival but it’s pretty sweet to go out on top against them,” said Persohn, who finished with 13 points (3-3 from the three-point line). “We had a really good crowd tonight too and hopefully they enjoyed what we were able to put out there on the floor.”

Persohn was able to knock down all three of his three-point attempts in the second half, however he says he’s not the one responsible.

“Some of the other guys did a very good job of driving the lane and they just found me open in the perimeter,” Persohn said. “I was just able to knock down some shots. It was more my teammates getting me open then me doing a bunch.”

The Cats really started to get things rolling in the third quarter as Austin Simmers, who led the Cats with 16 points, scored a few big shots including an and-one to stretch the lead to nine points. Goebel thought his team did a good job of limiting the turnovers (they finished with just eight) which helped to open up more possessions.

“We’ve started to truly value each possession,” Goebel said. “Earlier in the season we were a turnover factory but we’ve started to reverse that trend. If we can get good looks on every possession, we’ll put ourselves in a good position to be successful.”

Jasper's student section tried to distract Vincennes' Isaac Lane as he shot a free throw during Friday's game.  For more photos from the game, click here.

There were a few times where the Alices (7-5, 1-2) would start to slowly trim the lead but Jasper was able to get baskets quickly in transition off of the 12 Vincennes Lincoln turnovers and also by managing the full-court press defense that the Alices started to initiate more heavily in the second half.

“(Vincennes Lincoln) is always going to play a hard game against us but tonight we showed them that we play hard back,” Englert said. “We moved the ball well up the floor when they were pressing us and we got a bunch of transition buckets and that’s how we were able to start to outscore them.”

Jasper saw solid performances from several role players in Friday night’s victory. Jackson Kabrick had a few early buckets that provided an immediate spark right out of the gate, Reece Milligan added 11 points including a solid 5-for-6 from the free-throw line and Eric Nordhoff got the start at power forward in his season debut after missing the first seven games due to injury.

Compared to rivalry games of the past this one was rather tame but there were still a few hard fouls and late dives for loose balls that showed these teams will never quite be buddy-buddy with one another.

“There’s always going to be an edge to this game,” Persohn said. “It gets edgy, gets physical at times but it’s all good — it’s just the competitiveness you expect.”

Jasper will play their second straight conference game tonight against Mount Vernon (0-10, 0-2) against a team that’s still searching to break through to the win column — something that Englert says makes them just a little bit trickier.

“Them not winning any games yet is honestly the scariest thing about them,” Englert said. “We can’t overlook them because they can jump on us and get their first win if we’re not careful.” 

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