Prowess on the glass carries Patriots in win


DUBOIS — If the backboard could be recognized as a person in court, then the Heritage Hills basketball team should be charged for the way they attacked the glass on Saturday night.

The Patriots’ committed efforts on driving inside and cleaning up their misses for second and third scoring opportunities fueled their 66-63 win over the Northeast Dubois Jeeps.

Heritage Hills (3-0) outrebounded Northeast Dubois 21-13 and had 16 second-chance points for the game. On almost every possession there were at least three Patriot jerseys clogging the paint, anticipating which way the ball would bounce after making contact with the rim.

It wasn’t just the bigs either, as the guards would come crashing in after driving attempts at the basket looking for the make up basket if their teammates were to miss.

Patriot coach Nate Hawkins, who has been pounding the point to his team about being ferocious on the glass, was worried about how his young team would fare on the boards versus the more seasoned Jeeps (2-2). But he was pleasantly surprised by what he saw against Northeast Dubois 

“I would’ve thought coming in here if we were able to win the rebounding battle by one, I would be pretty happy,” he said. “But these guys were relentless.”

Sophomore guard Murray Becher led all scorers with 30 points, and senior Mitchel Becher chipped in 15, including nine in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. Sophomore point guard Simon Scherry added in 10 points.

“They were crucial,” said Murray Becher when he talked about his team’s collective Windex impression. “Those offensive rebounds that we got second chances on, that’s pretty much why we won the game.”

“I knew they were going to push us around and be rough, that’s what happened in past years,” added Mitchel. “We were strong with the ball, finished on our end, and finished the game right with our free throws.” Heritage Hills shot 13-18 (72%) from the free throw line, while Northeast Dubois shot 15-24 (63%) from the line.

Senior guard Alex Harder had 20 points to lead the Jeeps. Reece Bauer scored 15, and Alan Kerstiens notched 14 for Northeast Dubois.

Heritage Hills used an early 9-3 rebounding advantage to break out to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter. But the Jeeps stood tough in the second, scoring 18 points to close the first half down by just one bucket, 32-30.

Northeast Dubois clamped down on defense using their busy hands to ignite a few fastbreak baskets off of steals and deflected passes, allowing them to outscore the Patriots 15-12 in the third quarter.

But in the fourth quarter the Becher brothers came alive, combining to score 20 points for Heritage Hills, and gave the Patriots their third win in the last four meetings against the rival Jeeps.

“They were tremendous and gave us a lift,” said Hawkins. “Any time we needed a bucket it seems like they like that pressure. I’ve got a great deal of confidence in both Mitchel and Murray, and they made winning plays tonight for us.”

Hawkins wanted his team to come into their game against the Jeeps with a high intensity level that he felt was lacking at  times during their 53-43 win over Evansville Day on Friday.

He wanted his players to use their athleticism to push the pace and dictate the tempo of the game, which is how he envisioned his team playing ball at the start of the season. 

“We had to come out and match (the Jeeps’) intensity,” he said. “Kudos to everybody in here. Just solid contributions all around, and that’s what it’s going to take for us.”

Hawkins said it was not a perfect performance by his team: He wants to tighten up on free throws, and believed that the defense against Northeast Dubois was lax at times. But he said those are things they can study on the game film, while he relished the competitive spirit his team has displayed in this early stage of the season.

“We gutted this one out tonight. I think we learned a great deal about us, and they found a way tonight,” said Hawkins. “We’re a very young team, and we’re going to have to learn as we go. For us to be 3-0 at this point, I’m just proud of them.”

Heritage Hills opens up conference play on its homecourt against the North Posey Vikings (2-0) on Friday, while Northeast Dubois will travel to Orleans to face the Bulldogs (1-2).

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