Jasper gets fifth straight victory

Caleb Burger

BY JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Jasper boys basketball team has been on quite a roll since the start of the new year, and the Wildcats added Mount Vernon to their current win streak after a 65-35 victory Saturday night in the Big Eight Conference. The win was the fifth in a row for Jasper (8-2, 2-1).

Jasper coach John Goebel said the key to his team's success rests in its commitment to playing good team defense. He still thinks the team has room to grow in terms of maintaining a high-level of execution on the offensive end, but the team's defense will always give Jasper a chance to hang in on any given night until the shots start falling.

"I have no complaints about our approach defensively," he said. "We still struggle to get into a rhythm offensively, but if you're going to defend like we were able to do the last two nights, you can live with some of the malfunctions because you're limiting the other team."

Jasper quickly struck first following a low-block score from senior forward Elliot Hopf and a fast break bucket from senior guard Carter Stamm after getting a block on the other end of the floor. Mount Vernon fired back with threes from sophomore forward Kaleb Dosher and sophomore guard Leo Hostetter to go up, 6-4.

Senior forward Quentin Harmon used an and-one play to recapture the lead, but senior guard Breckin Austin hit right back with a drive to the rim. Jasper experienced a small run with scores from Hopf, senior guard Jackson Kabrick and senior guard Reece Day to go up 12-8, but Austin landed a three to get Mount Vernon back within a score of taking over. However, sophomore guard Tanner Erny finished the first quarter with a strong putback inside to give Jasper a 14-11 lead going into the second stanza.

The second quarter was all Jasper. Harmon sunk a three to start a 14-0 run that received contributions from Kabrick, Stamm and junior forward Jace Goodhue. Junior center Brock Veatch split a pair of free throws to finally get Mount Vernon on the board in the second quarter, but that’s all it could muster. Erny ended the half with a steal that turned into fast break points as Jasper outscored Mount Vernon 16-1 in the second quarter.

Harmon, Kabrick and junior guard Caleb Burger shot Jasper out of the second-half gates with a 6-1 run, and from there Jasper ran wild over its counterparts. Kabrick, Burger and Harmon combined for 17 of Jasper’s 23 points in the third period, and paved the way for a 53-21 lead going into the fourth frame. With the game in hand, Goebel opted to sit his starters with a little under seven minutes left in the fourth, and let the bench bring the game home.

Quentin Harmon

Harmon and Kabrick both had 13 points to lead Jasper. Dosher had 12 points to pace Mount Vernon.

"Our main emphasis was coming out strong and putting them away early," Harmon said. "We did a good job of that, keeping up the intensity at home and playing like a team."

“It was nice to use the rest of our bench and the depth we have,” added Burger, who finished with eight points. “Coach Goebel told us that even though we were ahead, we needed to run our offense and keep rebounding. I’m proud of the guys who stepped in there."

Jasper has not tasted defeat since falling to the Boonville Pioneers 58-52 on Dec. 20. Goebel first credits his team's defense, which hasn’t allowed more than 45 points during the five-win stretch, but he also points to the unselfish nature of the players. They don’t care who the high scorer is at the end of the game, as long as all the points go toward a win.

“We don’t have a lot of selfish players,” he said. “We’ve got some kids that could really force their hand and take some unnecessary shots if they wanted to. They do a nice job of sharing the ball. We have some kids who don’t really care who scores, as long as the team scores. That’s our biggest strength.”

Jasper will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against another Big Eight Conference foe in the Washington Hatchets (9-2, 1-0).

 




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