Jeeps applying lessons learned from atypical off-season

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Northeast Dubois junior forward Hadley Fuhrman searches for an open teammate during a recent practice. The Jeeps will open their season against Shoals at 6:30 p.m on Tuesday in Dubois.


DUBOIS — As Andy Chinn directs the Northeast Dubois girls basketball team, the fifth-year head coach recognizes the squad’s good fortune. The COVID-19 pandemic altered the framework of Indiana high school sports, but the situation at hand fostered a heightened sense of maturity within the Northeast Dubois program.

“We’re trying not to take any of this for granted,” Chinn said. “A lot of these athletes lost their spring seasons last year. We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that we get to have a season. It’s really made them grow up.”

Last season, Northeast Dubois posted a 6-18 record. In her sophomore year, forward Hadley Fuhrman averaged a team-high 9.2 points per game and secured Blue Chip All-Conference honors.

Fuhrman and fellow junior forward Brinley Royer join the upperclassmen ranks this season. Four seniors comprise an experienced group that consists of two guards (Jazlyn Sander, Mia Smith) and two forwards (Becca Brosmer, Alexus Royer). A sophomore quintet of Emma Betz, Rhylan Kalb, Sara Livingston, Reagan Knies and Grace Lueken rounds out the roster.

As the Jeeps embarked on their campaign, strong leadership became paramount.

“I think strong leaders are hard to find,” Chinn said. “We’ve got great coaches in all of our sports and all the way down through our middle school. It’s a big responsibility for us as adults to lead these students to success. That happens off the court and on the court. With everything they’ve been through this year, it’s a great chance for them to really grow up and help them with life lessons.”

In order to create camaraderie, the Northeast Dubois players gather together. The Jeeps celebrate the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as a team.

Chinn offered a succinct yet powerful description of wearing the Jeeps uniform — “a privilege, not a right.”

“It’s an honor to wear the blue and white,” Sander said.

That privilege extends beyond the program. As the Jeeps graduate, the student-athletes remember their roots.

“We’ve had a lot of really good players and a lot of really good teams and coaches come through here,” Chinn said. “It’s great that we have former players that still check in with me that have played for us over the last couple of years. It’s still a big piece of them, even after you graduate.”

Moreover, Chinn and the student-athletes acknowledge the mystique of Indiana basketball. The Hoosier State is a breeding ground for hoops history.

“There’s really nothing like Indiana high school basketball,” Chinn said. “Our town and our school, they do a great job of supporting us. Jeeps pride is alive and well.”

The trials and tribulations of the unusual off-season equipped the Jeeps with enhanced gratitude.

“I think a lot of this is bigger than basketball,” Chinn said. “I think they’re realizing that.”

The season’s first test is around the corner. Northeast Dubois will open at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Shoals.

“We’ve got a pretty good team out here,” Sander said. “The goal is always to cut down the net at the end of the season.”

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