Jeeps beginning to find their comfort zone

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' guard Ethan Ziegler drives the ball up the court during Friday's boys basketball game in Dubois. Northeast Dubois defeated Washington Catholic 57-32. Several Jeeps are getting accustomed to new roles this season and Ziegler is one of them — he's been solid in his first two games as Northeast Dubois' starting point guard as he's gained the trust and confidence of his teammates. For more photos from the game, click here.


DUBOIS — Something that Northeast Dubois boys basketball head coach Terry Friedman has always stressed is the importance of defense. Around Dubois, it’s become known as ‘The Jeep Edge’.

Through the first two games of the season, defense has helped pave the way for the Jeeps as they’re giving up an average of just 38 points a game.

Junior guard Ethan Ziegler knows that the Jeeps aren’t necessarily the flashiest or fanciest team on the court but when they’re able to accomplish the small tasks like strong defense, the wins will add up.

“We do a lot of little things well,” said Ziegler following the Jeeps 57-32 home opening victory over Washington Catholic on Friday night. “We’re not going to come out and blow out a lot of teams, we don’t hit a lot of threes, we’re not necessarily great shooters but I feel like overall we’re a pretty solid team.”

After graduating four starters from last year’s team that won 15 games and reached the sectional championship, Northeast Dubois (2-0, 1-0) knew they’d have to rely on some new faces and players stepping up into different roles.

Ziegler is one of those players – while he did see varsity action during his sophomore year in 2017, he’s taken over as the Jeeps starting point guard and is already gaining trust and confidence from his teammates and coaches.

“I thought that Ethan played a really good floor game for us,” said Friedman. “He was able to make really good decisions and keep up the defensive pressure.”

Ziegler added: “I was really nervous at first (starting), especially in Indiana where basketball is so big. But I’m getting more comfortable as the year goes on.”

Another player that’s stepped up into a little bit of a different role this season is junior guard Reece Bauer.

While Bauer started last year and has continued to be one of Northeast Dubois’ primary scoring options (he led the Jeeps with 22 points on Friday night), he’s now stepped up into a leadership role as a junior. However, he’s credits the guidance of a few seniors as stepping stones for his new role this season.

“I’ve been kind of following the senior leaders, Logan (Dodd) and Marshall (Knies) are good role models for me and the whole team,” Bauer said. “I’ve stepped up at certain times when I need to do being a junior leader.”

The Jeeps also had help come from a bunch of different places in terms of scoring, defense and overall intensity.

Whether it was the strong defense that Dodd played on Washington Catholic sharpshooter Brock Craney, the tenacity that Marshall Knies and Nick Lueken showed on the defensive end or the strong scoring off the bench shown from Lane Knies and Dante Miller there was help coming from everywhere in Friday’s victory. And for Friedman? Well, that’s something that he’s very happy to see.

“I think it’s important we develop (our bench) early because at this point we really don’t know. These young guys are all fighting for position in practice everyday so tonight was a good opportunity for them to get some quality minutes,” Friedman said. “We’re a work in progress and we’ve got a tough schedule ahead of us but I like the direction we’re headed.”

Northeast Dubois started the game off by scoring the first 13 points of the night as Dodd, Ziegler and Bauer all were able to put in early shots. The Jeeps held a 21-3 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Washington Catholic (1-1, 0-1) started to close in a little bit in the second quarter as they scored five straight points to trim the Jeep lead to 25-11 and had it down to 27-18 later in the second quarter after a big three-pointer from Craney. However, the Jeeps ended the half on a scoring flurry as Marshall Knies scored off of a steal and Bauer drew a foul as time ran out from beyond the half-court line and knocked down all three foul shots to give the Jeeps a 33-18 halftime lead.

Northeast Dubois' Reece Bauer shoots a layup during Friday's boys basketball game in Dubois. Bauer led the Jeeps in scoring with 22 points and also was often the Jeeps commander on offense as he helped create plays and was a leader in communication among teammates. For more photos from the game, click here.

“Tonight, I really felt like we set the tone early with our defense and that allowed us to establish ourselves early,” Friedman said. “We have a ways to go but I really feel like from a defensive standpoint we’ve done a good job.”

The second half was pretty dominant for Northeast Dubois as they outscored the Cardinals 24-14 thanks to a continued strong defensive effort. The Jeeps did have a little more turnovers than they wanted down the final stretch of the fourth quarter but they were able to hang on for the 57-32 victory.

Reece Bauer led the Jeeps with 22 points while Lane Knies added seven, Ethan Ziegler finished with six and Marshall Knies and Nick Lueken both added five. Brock Craney led Washington Catholic with 14 while Justin Wu added 11.

The Jeeps will be back in action tonight against a tough Heritage Hills squad that opened their season last weekend with a 71-43 victory over North Harrison.

They know they’ll have to play smart, limit their turnovers and continue to play the stout defense that has led them to their first two wins of the season in order to come away with a victory.

But a win against a team that’s receiving votes in the Class 3A poll could help the Jeeps start to gain attention across Southern Indiana.

“People might have looked past us a little bit this season but we’ve came out strong, played an uptempo game and it’s worked out for us,” Bauer said. “We’re going to have to pick up our defensive intensity, be physical with (the Patriots) and if we can do that hopefully we can come out with a win.”

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