Jeeps show heart, fight in loss to Blackhawks

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Springs Valley's Yesenia Gilmore, left, and Stevie McNew guard Northeast Dubois' Haley Reckelhoff during Thursday's girls basketball in Dubois. The Jeeps fought hard but their big fourth quarter comeback fell just short as they were defeated by the Blackhawks, 61-54. For more photos from the game, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON

jsaxon@dcherald.com

DUBOIS —  The Northeast Dubois girls basketball team gave it their all, but simply ran out of time on Thursday night. The players pressed through an early double-digit deficit and did all they could to close in on Springs Valley in the second half but in the end the Jeeps couldn’t overcome Valley’s front court as they fell 61-54 to the Blackhawks.

Jeeps head coach Andy Chinn coach said his team gave it all they had down the stretch and commended them for fighting for the game until the end.

“I’m tremendously proud of our effort,” he said. “We’re getting better every game. We just took a great team down to the wire. We got off to a rough start, we’re still trying to piece together a whole game, but our effort in the fourth quarter was awesome.”

The early going was rough for Northeast Dubois (1-9) as they had to rely on a more perimeter oriented game to compensate for the team’s lack of size. The Jeeps were able to get to the spots they wanted on the floor, but the shots weren’t falling at the clip they needed. Springs Valley (6-1) on the other hand was feeding junior center Jewel McCormick a steady dose of touches and she was able to convert her looks into eight points as the Blackhawks outscored the Jeeps 14-6 in the first quarter.

McCormick continued to have a devastating effect in the paint for Springs Valley and Northeast Dubois continued working to get their shots. Junior guard Madison Cave and freshman forward Hadley Fuhrman were able to connect on a couple of threes for the Jeeps, while junior forward Haley Reckelhoff and sophomore forward Becca Brosmer were able to put up six more points between them keep a spark alive. But the Jeeps simply had no answer for McCormick in the front court, as she had herself another 12 points on the way to a 32-20 Blackhawks halftime lead.

Springs Valley didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken and went right back inside to McCormick in the second half. She had two of the team’s first three shots to start the third quarter and senior forward Stevie McNew was able to jump one of the Jeep’s passes to get another layup during the Blackhawks’ 6-2 run. Cave and Reckelhoff answered back with five quick points of their own. Northeast Dubois hovered around the 11-12 point deficit mark for most of the third, but another 6-0 run by Springs Valley in the final minute of the quarter gave them a 47-30 lead going into the fourth.

Still the Jeeps kept their fight going into the final period. Cave tucked in her chin and drove inside for a tough basket and hit her free throw to complete the three-point play for Northeast Dubois to start the fourth. Freshman guard Hailey Carie put in a long jumper to cut the lead to 14. McCormick was still getting her touches, but Cave did her best to answer McCormick’s score with one of her own. Shots finally started to fall for Cave and Fuhrman as both combined for three three-pointers to keep the Blackhawks from coasting into the finish.  The combined efforts of Cave, Fuhrman, Carie, and sophomore guard Mia Smith enabled the Jeeps to out score the Blackhawks 24-14 in the fourth quarter. Northeast Dubois got within six points of Springs Valley in the waning seconds, but they simply ran out of time to fully dig themselves out of the hole.

The Northeast Dubois girls basketball team hyped themselves up with a cheer together before the start of their home game against Springs Valley on Thursday evening. For more photos from the game, click here.

McCormick finished with 34 points, while junior guard Ellison Burton had 13 and McNew finished with eight for the Blackhawks. Cave led the Jeeps with 26, Fuhrman added 12, and Reckelhoff had an additional eight points.

“I think our effort was definitely there,” said Reckelhoff. “It’s all about keeping our minds in the game and not letting it fade.”

Chinn acknowledged that the team isn’t where they want to be 11 games into their season, but he sees both improvement in their game and the effort he expects from a team that soaks in his message of grit and grind throughout the season.

The main area where he thinks his team can make immediate and meaningful adjustments is in the mental approach to games. Losing to a better team happens in basketball, but Chinn doesn’t want his girls doing half of their opponents job with silly errors they can control.

“A lot of it is right between the ears,” he said. “We make mistakes we shouldn’t make. In the first half we made a lot of mistakes that beat ourselves. The careless passes (and) not finding a good shot, that’s something we still have to get better at.”

But Chinn not only believes the team will get better in those areas, but also that they will still be the team to beat when it’s time for the sectional tournament.

“We all know and believe we have a shot to win sectional down the road,” he said. “We’re still the defending champions and someone has to beat us. We’re going to treat everyday as a day to get better and the end prize is still in reach.”




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