Jeeps remain eager for postseason playFebruary 27, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
DUBOIS — Oftentimes, experience is the best teacher. Last season, Northeast Dubois (8-14) captured a 1A Sectional 64 championship after rolling through the bottom half of the bracket.
This year, Jeeps head coach Terry Friedman aims to apply his postseason acumen once again.
“The sectional represents the culmination of your season,” Friedman said. “Over the course of the year, you have ups and downs. You make changes in what you do. Your athletes play. They adjust, they learn, they pick up things as we go.”
Northeast Dubois will meet Evansville Day in an opening-round game on Tuesday at Wood Memorial. The Jeeps defeated the Eagles in last year’s 55-51 sectional championship. Amidst this season’s uncertainty and volatility, Northeast Dubois has shown flashes of improvement.
“I see a team that has evolved, developed and has come along,” Friedman said. “Not as quickly sometimes as I would like, but I think our kids are working really hard and doing the very best that they can. We’re still looking forward to our tournament and moving forward there.”
Northeast Dubois has established an identity as a strong defensive unit — the Jeeps have allowed just 49 points per game this year. Seniors Nick Lueken, Dante Miller, Logan Mehringer and Ty Riecker play key roles at both ends of the floor.
“When you have that senior leadership, that’s what carries you in the tournament,” Friedman said. “It carries you in your big games throughout the season. The seniors bring the mental attitude of the team. They set the tone in the practices. They set the tone in the games. Their ability to get focused here and stay on task as we move forward into the tournament will be key in our opportunity to come out with a sectional championship this year.”
Friedman underscored four of the Jeeps’ regular-season wins. Victories over Shoals, Vincennes Lincoln, Springs Valley and North Knox established confidence within the program. The Feb. 4 triumph against North Knox marked the Jeeps’ first win of the month.
“The North Knox team had a winning record coming in here,” Friedman said. “It was a game we trailed the whole game. We stayed in there, we fought and were able to pull that out right at the end. I kind of felt like the intensity of play in the North Knox game is similar to what we would expect to see come tournament time.”
Indeed, Northeast Dubois typifies the quintessential image of small-town Indiana. The school’s unbridled love for hoops creates a vigorous environment.
“This is a very proud community,” Friedman said. “This is a very proud school. We take a lot of pride in our athletic programs and in our boys basketball program. We’ve enjoyed some success over the years, and we would like to think we have a really good shot at the sectional this year. I feel like we do.”
“It really comes down to the pride our young men have here in our school in our community,” he continued. “We have great fan support at Northeast Dubois.”
The Jeeps will take that support in stride as they embark on their postseason quest.
“It’s an honor to be a coach here at this program,” Friedman said. “Our kids are excited. We’re looking forward to a great tournament.”
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