Late surge leads Blackhawks past Jeeps



FRENCH LICK — The wind and rain — and eventual snow — blew through the area on Saturday, but basketball is life in Indiana, so the games moved on. To that end, the Northeast Dubois Jeeps traveled to the house that Larry Bird built to take on the Springs Valley Blackhawks. Both teams went after it, but a late run by the Blackhawks allowed them to pull away and take the game against the Jeeps 60-49.

Northeast Dubois head coach Terry Friedman noted that the Jeeps (5-7) were finishing up a tough stretch of games going into Saturday’s matchup. He thought the boys gave it all they had and ran the game plan as they were supposed to, they simply ran out of gas toward the end.

“I thought we executed pretty well,” he said. “It was our third game in five day, so maybe those legs showed a little bit today.”

Springs Valley guards Lashawn Tutt and Christian Cooper scored some fast buckets to get the BlackHawks (12-4) out to a 6-1 lead, but the Jeeps' guards were able to get their shots off, as Lane Knies, Nick Lueken and Logan Dodd produced their own seven-point run for an 8-6 lead halfway through the first quarter. Connor Nelson put the Blackhawks back on top with a three-pointer, to which Marshall Knies answered with a foul line jumper for the Jeeps. Jackson Land drove inside and earned himself a trip to the foul line, where he hit both shots to put Springs Valley up 11-10. Dodd flipped the lead once again, as he found himself open beyond the arc, and nailed it for a 13-11 Jeeps lead. Cooper worked his way in for a final layup, and the teams went into the second quarter tied at 13.

Lane Knies fought through the contact for a three-point play to begin the second stanza, as both teams continued to trade baskets in a neck-and-neck rivalry game. Dodd hit his second three-pointer of the game to give Northeast Dubois a 22-19 lead, but Tucker connected on his own three-pointer to tie it once more. However it proved to be another short-lived deadlock, as Ethan Ziegler took his dribble coast-to-coast and drove in for a 24-22 lead for the Jeeps with a little more than two minutes left in the half. Cooper hit another trey to swing the score back in the Blackhawks’ favor, but Ziegler landed another three of his own as time expired to give the Jeeps a 27-26 lead at halftime.

Marshall Knies and Reece Bauer were able to get it going with a quick five points to start the third quarter, but Land shot inside on consecutive possessions to keep pace with the Jeeps. Marshall Knies came back with a three and Jordan Curtis shot one right back from downtown to tie the game once again at 35. Trevor Seufert and Ziegler went for consecutive scoring plays that allowed the Jeeps a slim 42-41 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period, but Tucker and Javon Gilmore put together their own five-point swing to give the Blackhawks a 46-42 lead heading into the fourth frame.

Dodd hit his third three-pointer of the game to bring the Jeeps within one point of the Blackhawks, but the engine started to slow down for the team after that. Ziegler was able to score four more points, but the offense hit a wall for the Jeeps in the final quarter. Land, Tutt, Tucker and Gilmore were able to put the finishing touches on what had been a tight shootout, as Springs Valley outscored Northeast 14-7 in the fourth to take the game 60-49.

Tucker led the Blackhawks with 16 points, while Land had 15. Dodd finished the game with 13 points, and Ziegler had 12.

“We played really hard in the beginning and just ran out of steam,” Dodd said. “But we played to the best of our ability and have got to do better. We just have to work harder in practice. We went on that run at the beginning, and we have to pick that back up. We learned that today.”

The Jeeps have dropped four of their past five games with the loss to the Blackhawks on Saturday, but Friedman is not panicked by his team’s record. He believes the progression of the team is going right along with his expectations of where they should be at this point in the season. But he is looking for a bit more consistency on the offensive end to match the opportunities his boys create on defense.

“This team plays excellent defense and hustles, but we haven't been able to capitalize on a lot of those opportunities,” he said. “We have some youth out there, we have some guys developing and we’re a little over halfway through our season. I feel like we’re where we want to be. We’re not really looking at the record, we’re looking at getting better, and we’re moving in the right direction.”

More on