Jeeps embracing postseason opportunities

Photos by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Northeast Dubois senior Mia Smith drives in the lane during a game against Barr-Reeve in Dubois.


DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois head coach Andy Chinn has learned to compartmentalize each high school girls basketball season. The breakdown is coherent — the first section lasts up until Christmas, the second section spans from Christmas until the end of the regular season and the third section is the entire postseason tournament.

“At the end of the day, the big picture is always in sight,” Chinn said. “Every day is an opportunity to work toward the end of the year. The goal is still in reach. That’s something that we preach all year.”

Northeast Dubois has scored 970 total points and allowed 855 points. The Jeeps rely on leadership from all areas of their lineup — sophomores through seniors.

“You just never know when it’s going to be your time to get in the game,” Chinn said. “Everybody on this team has a role. We’ve said before that you need to do your job. Everybody’s job is different. You just need to make sure you’re doing your job. The betterment of the team is ultimately what’s most important.”

The Jeeps captured a sectional championship in 2018. This year, they will travel to Tecumseh for Class A Sectional 64. Seniors Jazlyn Sander, Mia Smith, Becca Brosmer and Alexus Royer were freshmen on that championship team.

“Winning on the court is important, but it’s more about winning in life,” Chinn said. “We’re battling a lot of outside things that these kids are going through. It’s a bigger picture. We’re preparing them to win — not only in their sport, but we want them to win in life. We’ve got four people going to college next year. We just hope that they’ve learned things that can make them successful at the next level.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Chinn and the Jeeps to adjust their usual routines. Although a limited number of spectators are allowed at each home game, fans stay connected through Northeast Dubois’ live broadcasts on YouTube.

“The support is still high, and that’s the message that we need to keep delivering to these kids,” Chinn said. “You really never know who’s watching, and you’re still representing something way bigger than an individual. You’re representing your school and your community. Even though your peers might not be in the crowd or the community might not be in the crowd, you’re still representing something so much bigger than yourself.”

This season has presented challenges and learning experiences in spades. Chinn emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity to compete.

Northeast Dubois sophomore Reagan Knies prepares to take an outside shot during a game against Cannelton in Dubois.

“When these kids are looking up in the crowd, it’s great that we get to allow their parents to be there,” he said. “There are schools and other states that aren’t even allowing that. I feel fortunate, sectional-wise, that a lot of these girls have gotten to play in front of the thousands and in front of all the students. This year is so unique, and I’m not sure what it’s going to look like. At the end of the day, there’s a trophy there to be had. We want it.”

Northeast Dubois received a first-round bye in the sectional tournament. The Jeeps will face the winner of Cannelton and Tecumseh at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5.

“We build toward the sectional,” Chinn said. “When we had our whole team together during that first week in October, the sectional was one of the first things that was brought up. This senior group got to experience what it’s like to win a sectional, what it’s like to cut down the nets and come into town on fire trucks. We’d like to get back to that point.”

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