Kabrick hopes to leave winning legacy at Jasper

Herald File Photo
Jasper's Jackson Kabrick (15) is looking to help the Wildcats win a second straight sectional championship for the first time since 2002.


JASPER — Jackson Kabrick does not know what it’s like to have a losing season at the high school level.

The Jasper senior is just one of many players who are part of a long-standing winning tradition. The Wildcats have had eight straight winning seasons, and Kabrick is doing his part to help make it nine straight. Jasper has won three straight games heading into Friday’s home game against Vincennes Lincoln.

“I think the camaraderie on the team is great right now,” Kabrick said. “We are just having fun at practice, and we’re just waiting to get the games in that we have this weekend.”

Friday night will be the first time since Dec. 20 the Wildcats are in conference action. Jasper is 0-1 thus far in the final season of the Big Eight Conference. That 58-52 loss came to Boonville. The Wildcats could improve to 2-1 in the conference on the weekend if they take care of business Friday against the Alices and Saturday against Mount Vernon (Posey). Wins in those two games would match last year's season-high of five straight. Jasper is one of four teams in the conference with a winning record, along with Boonville, Princeton and Washington.

“There’s a lot of good teams in our conference this year, and we still have our minds set on winning that conference championship,” he said.

Kabrick has played his part in helping the Wildcats on their current win streak. Jasper found itself in a tight game Jan. 3 with Evansville Central. The Wildcats mustered enough to get by the Bears. Kabrick’s four free throws in the final minute helped make the difference in a 43-41 triumph, and Jasper coach John Goebel had no doubt of Kabrick’s abilities to come through in that spot.

“I think if you would ask anyone on this team who they would pick to have at the free throw line in that situation, they’d all pick Jackson, hands down, without exception,” Goebel said. “That’s why, at the end of the games, we want the ball in his hands. I had complete confidence he would make those shots.”

Kabrick will soon close the high school chapter of his life that’s been filled with an athletic career. He’s competed in soccer, football and track, in addition to basketball. Goebel said Kabrick’s athletic ability is his top attribute, and it’s as good as anybody he’s ever had. He called Kabrick one of the most gifted athletes he has ever coached.

The Wildcats tasked Kabrick with guarding Evansville Reitz star point guard Khristian Lander in last year’s sectional championship. Kabrick managed to hold his own against the five-star recruit, who finished with 13 points. The Wildcats cut down the nets after a 45-39 victory. Goebel attributed Kabrick’s athletic ability, and also his intelligence, for the job he did against Lander.

“Jackson’s a smart kid, and he spent a lot of time watching him on film and figuring him out —what Khristian could and couldn’t do,” he said. “With a kid like Khristian Lander, there’s no shutting him out, but you have to limit his production, and Jackson surely did a great job with that.”

Kabrick tends to lead by example, and will look to keep showing leadership in order to help deliver the Wildcats back-to-back sectional titles for the first time since 2001-02. He’s trying to reflect the leadership past teammates showed him in prior years. Kabrick pointed to Josh Weidenbenner, Reece Milligan and Jared Englert as players who played a lot of minutes and showed a lot of leadership on the court. He also referred to Kyle Hedinger, Phillip Noblitt and Dillon Sternberg as players who didn’t always get a lot of playing time, but still led off the court. Kabrick seeks to lead like they did, going as hard as he can in every drill during practice.

He said basketball is his favorite sport of all the ones he competes in. Kabrick is hoping to continue playing the game at the collegiate level, and wants to study engineering. He said he has been in touch with some college basketball coaches, but nothing is set in stone. Basketball gives Kabrick the most fun that he has. What makes it fun is the team atmosphere. There’s no one-man show, and the whole team works together to get wins. He has at least 15 games left in his high school basketball career —14 regular season games, plus the opening sectional round.

“There’s a lot of good teams in our sectional right now, but we’re confident that we can go pretty far, and we’re just going to give it our best,” Kabrick said.

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