Jeeps’ Cave wants memorable senior year

Herald file photos
Madison Cave is one of two seniors on the Northeast Dubois Jeeps team this year, along with Haley Reckelhoff.


DUBOIS — Madison Cave would like to make a splash in her final high school basketball season.

Cave is one of two seniors Northeast Dubois has on its team, along with Haley Reckelhoff. The Jeeps didn’t lose anybody to graduation last year, and everybody is back this year. Not having any senior leaders on the team meant Cave had to be a junior leader.

“Filling those shoes is huge to be a good leader, but it helped tremendously, I believe,” Cave said. “It got me ready for senior year.”

She said she had a lot of patience with the younger members of the team last year, but remembers when her veteran teammates did the same for her when she was a younger player herself. Cave said her older teammates encouraged her and understood if she made mistakes. Northeast Dubois coach Andy Chinn praised her ability to lead by example. Cave said she tries to be positive by talking to her teammates on and off the court.

Cave said the two seniors don’t feel any pressure to be leaders, and thinks there are more than just two leaders on the team. She said leading the team is a team effort. Everybody plays to win, and Cave said everybody works well with one another.

She said the Jeeps are a lot more positive now in practice compared to a year ago. Cave said what drew that positivity out of the team was the first round in last year’s sectional, when Northeast Dubois lost, 34-32, to Springs Valley on a buzzer-beating layup. Cave and Reckelhoff knew the Jeeps had to build off of that loss because it showed how good they can be, but that they could also be even better. It capped what she described as a difficult season — harder times than what she ever wants to go back to.

Northeast Dubois ran into some setbacks early in the season. The Jeeps lost a 44-42 heartbreaker Nov. 7 against Paoli, despite leading by nine in the fourth quarter. Cave led the way with 17 points in that game. She said the players may have rushed themselves too much and gotten in their heads. Cave knows Northeast Dubois can go and play to win when it plays at its own speed and pace.

The Jeeps finally broke through Nov. 16 in their final game of the Corydon Central Tournament. They bested Tell City, 45-25, in the seventh-place game of the tournament. It was their first win after starting the season 0-4. Northeast Dubois did not get its first win of the season last year until its 10th game. Cave said the Jeeps had their heads in the game a lot more that day. She said they knew they had to leave the tournament with a win, and she thought Northeast Dubois was determined.

“It was really rewarding, and a lot of pressure was taken off our shoulders,” she said.

Northeast Dubois’ Madison Cave’s tries to find the basket during a home game against Southridge last season. 

Cave added the team wanted especially to best Tell City because it’s Chinn’s hometown. This is Chinn’s fourth season coaching the Northeast Dubois girls, and said Cave has been a pleasure to coach. He said she understands what the Jeeps are trying to accomplish, and added that Cave has been through good times and not-so-good times. The senior had to endure Northeast Dubois’ first losing season in nearly two decades a year ago, but she also played a role on the Jeeps team that won a sectional championship when she was a sophomore.

“We’re trying to make her senior year as memorable as possible,” Chinn said.

Cave noticed on Monday that team practice that day was different than it was prior to Northeast Dubois getting its first win. She said the victory proved to them that they could play well together, and they can now look to escalate things from there. Cave is hoping to make her senior year count. Her goal is another sectional championship. She said the sectional loss to the Blackhawks fueled her fire all summer and made her want to get back into the gym. Cave said people are expecting a lot of the Jeeps this season, which is good, because she added the team is expecting a lot of itself. Cave worked on shooting and ball handling during the summer, and added that Chinn came in the gym during the summer to help his players.

Her days of playing basketball might not be over after this year. Cave would like to study elementary education and continue playing the sport she said she’s played for a long time. She loves how competitive basketball is, and said she has received some collegiate offers.

Chinn said Cave has made a couple of visits to some campuses, while he has been in contact with college coaches. He “absolutely” believes Cave will get her chance to play college basketball.

“She’s got a lot of experience,” he said. “That’s why I stay on her every day, just for her to be great. She’s got the potential to do it. She’s shown it before. We expect big things out of her, and I think she expects big things out of herself.”

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