Kabrick stars, Wildcats end skidFebruary 11, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Jasper looked like it was ticketed for an emphatic win on Tuesday. Evansville Mater Dei made it interesting, but Jasper’s three-game skid is history thanks to pulling through in the final minute, 61-48.
Jasper (13-5) welcomed Mater Dei in a showdown of the Wildcats. The home team held a 56-34 lead before the visitors went on a 14-0 run to trim Jasper’s lead to 56-48. However, Jasper finished on a 5-0 run with free throws down the stretch to stave off any further comeback.
“The whole team was pretty aggravated from how we played the last three games,” said senior Jackson Kabrick, who totaled 30 points. “So, we wanted to come out and show our fans that we could still get it done, and that’s what we did tonight.”
Coach John Goebel said it’s not losing three straight that Jasper was disappointed with, but was the most disappointed with feeling like the team didn’t compete. He thought they lost their competitive edge, and their challenge Tuesday was to play hard, smart and compete again.
“It turns out, if you do those things, you can actually win,” Goebel said.
He credited his team for staying the course, blocking out any criticism and outside noise. Goebel lauded his players that they kept believing.
“One thing I’ve learned over the years is when you’re winning, like we won nine in a row, it doesn’t mean you have everything figured out, but when you’re losing, it’s also not the end of the world,” he said. “It doesn’t mean the season’s over. You have to maintain an even-keel and keep working toward that ultimate goal of playing the best basketball you can at sectional time.”
Jasper took a full timeout with 1:28 remaining when Mater Dei was making its comeback. Goebel told his players to quit panicking. He laid out the dilemma players face when having a double-digit lead — if a team stays aggressive and keeps shooting, or if it runs out the clock.
“What we were trying to do was break the press, get into our half court offense and get a layup,” Goebel said. “Sometimes, kids misread that as, ‘Get complacent,’ and that’s what we did for a little bit there, but you also have to give credit to Mater Dei. They hit some shots in that stretch and were able to narrow that lead.”
Jasper’s win against Mater Dei was the fourth time in a row it bested Goebel’s alma mater. He hasn’t lost against the team he used to coach since a 71-63 overtime loss on Feb. 9, 2016, but it’s just another team on the floor to him.
“I do root for them outside of our game,” he said. “I’m very close with their coach, Kurt Wildeman. I think he’s one of the finest young coaches and does a great job and I wish them nothing but the best, but at game time versus us, they’re not Mater Dei. They’re the team that’s trying to beat us and you got to take that personal.”
The victors had two players in double figures: Kabrick, and fellow senior Quentin Harmon, who finished with 17. Harmon drained a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to put Jasper ahead, 50-32, after three. Kabrick scored each of his team’s first 11 points of the game, and credited his team working on reading screens correctly. He commended his teammates for getting him open, and he was able to bank some shots. Goebel thought Kabrick was due for a game like that, and had a heck of a night, but thought the whole team looked zeroed in and was business-like on Tuesday.
Jasper is back in action Friday against Castle. Goebel said Jasper will continue to talk about being competitive as that’s the biggest thing.
The Wildcats will also be having Senior Night on Friday. They will honor Carter Stamm, Elliott Hopf, Reece Day, Harmon and Kabrick.
“We’re really just looking at Castle,” Kabrick said. “They’re a tough opponent and we’re just excited to have a chance to play them.”
Goebel, meanwhile, opened up more on Senior Night.
“One thing that people would never believe is it is hard to watch your players move on,” Goebel said. “You do spend a lot of time with them when they’re in high school and you become very fond of them. Sometimes they don’t think the most of you because you’re the one pushing them and getting after them, but I love every one of them, and it is hard to watch them move on, but we also know that even though it’s Senior Night, we’ll still have three regular season games and our sectional left. So, we’ve got some basketball to play, but it’s been a special group because they’ve been fun to be around. Even during that losing streak, they didn’t lose their sense of humor, and they didn’t lose their spunk, and they’re good, hardworking, classy kids and I wouldn’t trade them for any other team.”
For more photos from the game, click here.
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