Jeeps start new year off with victory



DUBOIS — Everyone always looks forward to a good day at the office to start a new year, and the Northeast Dubois girls basketball team was able to give themselves a solid start to 2019 by defeating the Shoals Jug Rox 52-37 on Thursday night for their second straight win.

Jeeps head coach Andy Chinn liked the way his team worked through their mistakes and locked in on the defensive end to overcome their slow start and take control of the ball game.

“We really struggled that first quarter, I think Shoals is better than what a lot of people give them credit for,” he said. “But the last three quarters we picked up the tempo offensively and defensively. The more we get going on defense, the easier the offensive opportunities will happen. We had kids hitting shots, everybody talking defensively. It was a really good run we put on.”

The first quarter was a bit of a slog to start for both teams as they worked to reach their comfort zones moving and shooting around the floor. But Jeeps junior guard Madison Cave landed the first shot of the night after she let one go from three-point land. Shoals forward Cassidy Witt responded with a three of her own. Then she had herself another. And another. Then another three landed from guard Alyssa Howell as the Jeeps were struggling to cover the shooters in the first quarter, and they weren’t putting the ball through the hoop to match the Rox offense.

Junior guard Haley Reckelhoff was able to put one in, but it was mainly Cave’s efforts that kept Northeast Dubois (3-14, 2-3) in it at the start of the game. She would add another three-pointer and got to the free throw line three times (hitting 5-of-6 shots) and helped the Jeeps escape the opening quarter with just a 19-13 deficit.

But the team was able to change their fortunes for the better in the second quarter. First Reckelhoff made both of her free throws to start the second, then Cave followed up with a slash attack to the rim. Cave then knocked in a three with 3:20 remaining to give Northeast Dubois their first lead of the night. All the while the girls were stepping up their efforts to guard the ball, challenge shots, and make Shoals less comfortable than they were in the first. All told the step up in production on both ends of the floor allowed the Jeeps to outscore the Jug Rox 14-4 in the second and take a 27-23 lead into halftime.

Sophomore guard Jazlyn Sander opened the third quarter with a running jumper across the paint, which was quickly answered by another three-pointer from Witt. Then both teams went into another cold streak, trading bricks with each other for about three minutes. Shoals guard Haley Fischer broke up the scoring drought with a three, and Sander came back with another jumper as the third quarter drew to a close.

Northeast Dubois put their foot on gas with 6-0 run to start the fourth. Fischer put in a layup to break up the momentum, but the Jeeps were determined to finish the game strong. Sophomore forward Mia Smith had nine points in the fourth , including going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. The defense got a bit sloppy for both teams with bad fouls, but the Jeeps were able to outscore the Jug Rox 16-6 as they finished out the game.

Cave led all scorers with 23 points with four three-pointers. Smith finished with 11 and Sander had 10 in the win. Witt had 15 and Fischer finished with 14 for Shoals.

“First quarter we kind of lost ourselves a little bit,” said Cave. “I’d say we brought it the rest of the three quarters. We gave up 19 points in the first quarter and we gave up 18 the rest of the game. We brought a lot more effort.”

“The first half we could have brought it better, but we pulled through,” added Sander.

It’s been a rough season in the wins and losses column for the defending sectional champs, but the win against Shoals combined with their victory against Boonville has the team in better spirits as they look toward their last six games.

Chinn credits the team’s enduring attitude and willingness to work through the rough patches, and praised the players that have stepped up to make plays for the team’s success in the past two games.

“We’re growing as a team,” he said. “We’re having girls step up. Brinley Royer had 18 rebounds, Mia Smith was in double figures, Jazlyn Sander was in double figures. We've got people playing defense, we’ve just had people stepping up.”

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