Mehringer's free throw ends Dubois skidFebruary 14, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
DUBOIS — Logan Mehringer stepped to the free throw line with exactly one second left in regulation. Avoiding overtime and snapping his team’s five-game skid hinged on what the junior would do at the charity stripe.
Northeast Dubois and Perry Central were deadlocked, 43-43. The Commodores went on an 8-0 run to tie it late. Mehringer had four points when he went to the foul line, but on this night, it proved to be about the quality, not the quantity. He had already made an impact at the rim with 0.3 seconds left and getting a shot to fall at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
Seniors Reece Bauer and Ethan Ziegler combined to miss each of the previous six free throws leading up to this point, but here was Mehringer’s chance to shine again.
“‘Hit the free throw, no matter what,’” Mehringer thought to himself.
He took a few deep breaths and put one up. It had movement, but went in, giving the Jeeps (12-9) a 44-43 lead. Mehringer intentionally missed his second free throw as he knew Perry Central had no timeouts left. Perry Central picked it up, lobbed it from full court, and it was no good. The skid had ended.
“It’s a lot of relief,” Mehringer said. “We’ve been working hard in practice every day, going to practice, busting our tails every day, running drills. We’re just going through motions. In the past five games, we’ve came out sluggish in warm-ups, and tonight, we came out serious, and we’re just here to show people not to take us as a joke.”
“What I told them was, and this is so true in sports, when you’re in a streak like that, you have to be able overcome,” Jeeps coach Terry Friedman said. “I didn’t think we were getting good bounces with the ball tonight. We missed some free throws. It seemed like we were really working hard, but we weren’t getting anything to show for it, but they stayed with it and they stayed fighting until the end.”
Ziegler dribbled the ball at half court with time winding down in regulation and the game tied. Friedman took a timeout with 23.2 seconds to go.
“I tell them, ‘Let’s win the game,’” he said.
He did not want his players to shoot it too early, that it’s either overtime or have the chance to win the game. Friedman drew up a play designed for Bauer, who had a team-high 12 points, to go to the basket and for Mehringer to crash the boards. Friedman thought Mehringer had been practicing really hard and also thought he played well in the Feb. 8 52-44 loss against Barr-Reeve. The crowd roared when he came through.
“He’s been coming along here late,” he said of Mehringer.
Northeast Dubois has two games left, one on the road and one at home. The Jeeps will be back Feb. 21 at Blue Chip Conference rival Loogootee. Northeast Dubois is 3-4 in conference play this season.
“We gave up, I thought, a lot offensive boards there late that kind of cost us,” Friedman said. “So, we’re going to have to work on that — our rebounding and our free throws.”
For more photos from the game, click here.
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