Jasper returns to win column

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper junior Jack Ahlbrand (13) shows excitement Tuesday after fellow junior Connor Foley (left) had a dunk in the first half against Vincennes Lincoln. The Wildcats bested their rival, 54-35, and snapped a three-game losing streak.  

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

VINCENNES  — Jasper's three-game skid is over.

The Wildcats (6-15, 2-7) may not have had an ideal season, but they had an ideal game in Tuesday night's 54-35 win against rival Vincennes Lincoln. The showing that they had in the 32 minutes against their Southern Indiana Athletic Conference rival gave coach John Goebel a lot of things to be pleased about.

"I was particularly proud of how hard we played tonight," Goebel said. "We did make mistakes like any other game, but I thought our defensive execution was as good as it's been for a long, long time. We had guys diving for loose balls, deflecting passes, we scored some easy buckets in transition, which we haven't gotten for a while. So, the determination and the work ethic was what I was most impressed with."

Goebel told the Herald after Tuesday's win that Monday's practice was a defensive practice  — not a pregame one. He said Jasper focused on close out drills, rebounding drills, ball pressure drills and mental toughness drills. The 14th-year Jasper coach described Monday's practice as the team going at it for two hours, with the message being that it isn't easy to win basketball games  — especially with the games on the Wildcats' schedule.

"It's always hard work, and you have to be tough, and you have to be physical and you have to be focused," Goebel continued. "We felt like especially against Castle and Jeffersonville — even though we were athletically outmanned by both of those teams, we didn't have any fight in us, and that had to change. And I felt like we took a step forward tonight."

The Wildcats trailed the Alices early, 6-4, but not for long. Jasper went on a 9-0 run for a 13-6 lead, and never looked back. They also went for a 6-0 run to start the second quarter that was capped off by an emphatic dunk by junior Connor Foley for a 23-10 Jasper lead. Foley was one of seven players to get on the score sheet for Jasper in this game.

Both sophomore Carter Mundy and junior Isaac Day brought it with 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Mundy put the finish on a big Jasper half by draining back-to-back threes in the Wildcats' final two possessions to give his team a 35-15 cushion heading into the locker room. His baker's dozen was a game-high in the score column.

Vincennes Lincoln began the third quarter on an 8-2 run, forcing Jasper into a timeout. The Wildcats scored a mere four points in the third quarter, but did what they needed to do in the fourth quarter to keep the Alices from coming back by outscoring their rival, 15-12, in the final eight minutes.

The Wildcats might not have as many wins as they would like, but three of those wins have come against some of their biggest rivals in Southridge, Northeast Dubois and now Vincennes Lincoln. Jasper wants to win every game, but Goebel believes getting wins in those big games shows that his players still have spirit and heart.

Goebel wasn't sure after Tuesday's game exactly what Wednesday's practice would entail because he hadn't seen the film yet, but he said Jasper would stay after it. He told the Herald Jasper decided to commit itself to working hard and being competitive.

Jasper is set to finish the regular season Thursday at Bedford North Lawrence.

"Winning right now at Bedford takes a back seat to continuing to fight, to continue to play hard, to continue to play with heart," he said. "If we'll do those things on Thursday night, whether we win or lose, because it's not going to be easy at Bedford  — they're a scrappy group. It's a hostile environment, they're letting some people in up there now.

"So, if we can go up there and handle ourselves the right way, compete with heart and physicality, that'll be a big step forward for us going into next Tuesday's game (Jasper's Sectional 16 game against Evansville Central at Evansville North)," Goebel continued.




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