Jeeps comeback effort falls just shortFebruary 6, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
DUBOIS — The Northeast Dubois boys basketball team has had an up-and-down year on the court. They started out winning four of their first five games before dropping seven-of-eight in the middle of the season.
But the one thing that hasn’t changed for the Jeeps is their hustle and effort every time they take the floor to play. Tuesday night’s game against North Daviess serves as a testament to that fact, as the Jeeps fought back to within one possession late in the ball game before falling to the Cougars 46-40.
Jeeps head coach Terry Friedman said there were points in the game when the Cougars (14-5) were up big and the Jeeps could have rolled over. But they kept up the intensity and if a few late threes would have fallen, that could have been enough to change the outcome in their favor.
“There were a couple of times in that game where I thought we could fold,” he said. “And our kids never did. We kept fighting back and late we were able to turn up the defensive pressure and get them uncomfortable. The game came down to just a couple of turnovers or threes that could have went in for us.”
North Daviess was able to get the benefit of a strong start as senior guard Shom Berry, junior guard Trevor Wiggins, and senior center Jack Winiger hit their first four shots to give the Cougars an 8-0 lead out the gate. Junior guard Ethan Ziegler and sophomore forward Lane Knies hit three consecutive three-pointers to get the Jeeps (8-10) on the scoreboard, but they were answered with additional shots from Riggins, Berry, and Winiger (along with junior guard Jack Townsend) as the Cougars outscored the Jeeps 18-9 in the first quarter.
Berry started the second quarter off with another lay up, but Knies hit back with a three-pointer on the other end to spark an 8-0 run for the Jeeps. The Cougars went cold from the floor for the majority of the second quarter, allowing the Jeeps to get within spitting distance before junior forward Kirk Wagler broke up the drought. Townsend also hit a three with less than ten seconds remaining to give the Cougars a bit more breathing room and a 25-19 at halftime.
Berry once again started the scoring for the Cougars in the third quarter, but Ziegler answered with his third three-pointer of the game. Winiger and Wagler scored back-to-back buckets to put the Cougars up eight points, but Ziegler’s fourth three-pointer and a coast-to-coast fastbreak from junior guard Reece Bauer kept the Jeeps afloat as they went into the fourth quarter down 36-29.
Berry scored once again to start the fourth, but both teams went cold from the floor until Knies hit a three-pointer with a little over three minutes left in the game. Bauer followed up with another lay up and his lone three of the ball game to cut the lead to 40-37 with less than minute left to play. Senior forward Trevor Wagler drew a foul late and hit both of his free throws, but a three by junior guard Nick Lueken kept the game a possession affair, 42-40. But that was as close as the Jeeps would get, as the Cougars hit four of their last six free throws to close the game 46-40.
Berry and Winiger both had 12 points to lead the Cougars. Ziegler had 16, Knies had 11, and Bauer finished with 10 for the Jeeps.
“We started off very slow, it took awhile to get in (rhythm) especially defensively,” said Ziegler. “Our offense was kind of slow, we had to hit a couple shots then we got going. I didn’t feel like we played bad. We played well enough to win a lot of games, but they were a good team.”
Despite the loss the Jeeps find themselves on a bit of an upswing in this late stage of their season. The team had won three of their last four coming into Tuesday night, and Friedman said the boys have been moving the ball better as well as hitting their shots at a better clip in their last few games. He still feels that the team is starting to play their best ball at the right time, and hopes to use the last four games to find the right mix for the team’s defensive coverages and improve the transition offense so the Jeeps can cash in when they get stops against their opponents.
“As we go forward we want to continue to tweak and rotate our defenses,” he said. “We were mainly a man-to-man team early, we started mixing in some zone the last few games and we want to continue to work on that. As far as fastbreaking goes, we’d really like to get up and down the court. We've got to continue putting everything together and find the rhythm heading into the tournament.”
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