Jeep support staff continues coming up to speed

Herald Sports Writer

DUBOIS — Coming into the season, the Northeast Dubois girls basketball team faced questions about how it would replace two three-year starters and maintain the success the Jeep faithful have become accustomed to.


At least three names — returning starters Emily Lueken and Rachel Breitwieser and last season’s second-leading scorer, Haley Kinder — were penciled in early as reliable contributors. It was the remaining roles that seemed to hold the biggest mystery. Who would fill in the gaps?

On Tuesday night in Dubois, almost all the Jeeps got a chance to fill that void.

Twelve girls saw playing time as Class 1A No. 10 Northeast Dubois cruised by an overmatched Washington Catholic team in a 53-33 win. The Jeeps (3-2, 2-0 Blue Chip Conference) were up 15 points after one quarter, 20 by the start of the third and reached as high as a 29-point lead before easing to the final score and a much-needed win for a team previously on a two-game skid.

After falling 46-42 to Heritage Hills on Nov. 23 and losing by four in overtime to Class 2A No. 7 Paoli three days later, a somewhat lighter opponent was just the matchup Northeast Dubois needed to regain confidence.

“It felt good to finally know we can do it,” junior Katelyn Helming said. “Because we know we can, we just need to put the pieces together.”

Exactly who and how those parts will be put together, though, is still up in the air.

Coach Alan Matheis started guard Chloe Johnson and forward Morgan Seng, who has seen her time increase since the beginning of the season, in place of Helming and Brynn Hoffman. Helming and Hoffman were two of the four girls compromising a second unit that entered six minutes into the first quarter.

That group also helped extend the Jeeps’ eight-point lead to a 17-2 gap. The Cardinals (0-4, 0-2) shot 0-of-8 in the first quarter. Hoffman scored four in the quarter and finished the game with six points, two rebounds and two steals. The Jeep bench totaled 15 points on the night.

“It’s nice to have other people (contributing) because then we build a stronger rotation and then we all know what we’re doing and work together,” Helming said. “So we just learn how each other play and it just makes us stronger.”

The Jeeps outrebounded Washington Catholic 40-18 and committed just four turnovers to the Cardinals’ 18.

But even on a night when Northeast Dubois remained in control the entire contest, not everything went perfect. The Jeeps shot less than 26 percent for the third straight game with a 23-of-71 shooting performance — although some of that can be attributed to the reserves receiving more minutes than usual. The starting five shot an improved 16-of-45 from the field and two players in particular, Lueken and Kinder, increased their efficiency after struggling the last few contests.

Kinder started the game with one basket in four attempts, but shot a respectable 5-of-11 in the last three quarters. She reeled off three consecutive finishes around the rim to close out the second quarter. She ended the game with 13 points, tied with Lueken for the Jeeps’ game-high. Lueken started out similarly slow before converting four of her six final shots. She also recorded two rebounds and three steals.

“Those two along with Rachel are, until the other kids come on a little more, the people we look to do a good part of our scoring,” Matheis said. “They have been working hard; just sometimes you’re in a little bit of a shooting slump. I think maybe tonight they worked out of that. We’ll see the proof when the season goes on.”

Breitwieser finished with six points and four rebounds, Johnson chipped in four points and two steals and Kinder and Seng grabbed six rebounds apiece.

Washington Catholic has lost its four games by an average of 38 points, but at least one player was able to showcase some impressive scoring. Forward Elizabeth Perkins finished with 28 of the Cardinals’ 33 points, with 25 of those coming in the second half. The senior forward shot 3-of-6 from the 3-point line and converted 9-of-11 free throw attempts.

It was a solid victory that kept the Jeeps undefeated in the conference. But despite all the talk about testing different rotations, Matheis said the best part about Tuesday was seeing the success of his team, from the starters to the last girl off the bench.

“It’s really important,” Matheis said. “Our kids, they all pull for one another very well. ... They’re very team-oriented. Even the seniors like (Taylor) Bauer and Talia Terwiske got in the game, scored a basket or two, and it’s a good feeling for the whole team. I think it’s important for the team to be able to recognize and feel good about everybody’s success on the team.”

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