Jeeps unable to seize the Day as Eagles advance

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Evansville Day's Noah Hupmann and Northeast Dubois' Lane Knies jump for the tip-off during Friday's Class 1A boys basketball sectional semi-final in Oakland City. Evansville Day defeated Northeast Dubois 55-44 and Hupmann was a big reason why — the Jeeps had trouble slowing down the 7-foot-1 big as he finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. For more photos from the game, click here.


OAKLAND CITY — Heading into Friday’s Wood Memorial Class 1A sectional semifinals, the Northeast Dubois Jeeps knew the day might come when their postseason run would end.

That day turned out to be Evansville Day School which presented a tall order — literally — for the scrappy Jeeps, handing Northeast Dubois a 55-44 season-ending defeat.

Despite trying to contain the tallest player they’ve seen this season — 7-foot-1 Noah Hupmann — the Jeeps did an admirable job shutting down a player who was about a foot taller than anyone on the court.

“He’s a load in there; he’s a handful,” Northeast Dubois coach Terry Friedman conceded. “You can’t really imitate that or show that in your practice, so it’s something you just have to come out and experience in the game.”

The Jeeps (10-14) double-teamed Hupmann for much of the game, limiting him to just six points in the first half. “We were able to keep him pretty well bottled up,” Friedman pointed out. “But once we had to spread our defense, then they took advantage of that on us.”

But as the game wore on and the Eagles slowly cushioned their lead, the Jeeps had to change their defensive strategy.

“When it got late and we had to go out on them and apply the perimeter ball pressure on them, then he was able to get open inside,” Friedman said of Hupmann, who finished with a game-high 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.

“I think our kids played really hard tonight,” Friedman said. “Our effort was there. We just really couldn’t seem to get a rhythm and traction in this game.”

The Jeeps played from behind for much of the game after a 4-4 deadlock three minutes into the game, then outscored the Eagles in the second stanza.

“I felt like in the second quarter that we started to really gain some traction. Hupmann comes out and gets a couple of quick buckets to start the game, but I thought we adjusted well after that on him. But then they knocked down a couple of threes,” Friedman said recapping the first half.

Northeast Dubois trailed 9-8 before Day hit its second — and last — three-pointer with less than a minute to go to take a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Jeeps outscored the Eagles 7-6 in the second stanza to remain close at halftime, 18-15.

“We played hard. I thought our defense was solid tonight,” Friedman said. “Offensively, we just weren’t able to get any rhythm and any traction. You’ve got to credit Evansville Day. They did a good job on us defensively.”

Northeast Dubois' Ethan Ziegler hugs his mother, Tammy, following Friday's Class 1A boys basketball sectional semi-final in Oakland City. Ziegler finished with a team-high 14 points in the loss. For more photos from the game, click here.

Evansville Day (10-11) tried to pull away in the third period, outdistancing the Jeeps by five points, then Northeast Dubois matched the Eagles almost bucket for bucket in the high-scoring fourth frame when 49 combined points were tallied.

After Hupmann hit two point-blank buckets to open the game, senior Marshall Knies and junior Ethan Ziegler countered with back-to-back baskets to tie the game.

But a three-pointer by Ethan Hancock and a putback by Hupmann gave the Eagles a cushion they did not relinquish, despite a Ziegler free throw and a three-pointer by senior Logan Dodd.

Knies christened the second quarter with a three-pointer to inch back to within 12-11, but Day hit back-to-back layups that offset a score by junior Reece Bauer. The teams matched free throws in the final minutes of the period to keep the outcome in doubt at intermission.

Day scored seven points in the first four minutes of the third period for a 25-16 edge, but Dodd hit another trey to let the Eagles know the Jeeps would not go quietly.

The Eagles added to their 29-21 lead from the third quarter with a pair of 15-footers to start the final frame for their biggest lead at 33-21.

A Bauer layup, Ziegler trey and Knies 15-footer offset a Hupmann lay-in to pull to within 35-28, but six consecutive points staked Day to a 41-28 advantage with four minutes remaining.

After a Ziegler bucket and a Knies three-pointer made it 41-33, most of the rest of the quarter consisted of a parade to the free throw line for Day. For the Jeeps, they converted four late buckets — layups by sophomore Lane Knies and Bauer, and a pair of treys by Ziegler — but just couldn’t mount a sustained threat to keep the Eagles from advancing to tonight’s finals against host Wood Memorial.

“Our three seniors (Dodd, Knies and Trevor Seufert), they played great tonight,” Friedman said. “They’ve been really good leaders for us this year. I’m sorry we couldn’t get ‘em one. We all wanted to see if we could get a sectional for our seniors, and it didn’t happen. But I want to thank them for all their efforts and what they’ve given to Northeast Dubois basketball over the last years. They’re just a great group of guys, and we’re going to be sorry to see them go.”

Ziegler paced the Jeeps with 14 points, followed by Marshall Knies with 13 and Bauer with nine. All of Day’s points were scored by its starters, three of which were in double figures.

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