Senior leadership seals Jeeps comeback bid

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge’s Tori Tretter and Northeast Dubois’ Alex Dodson battled for the tip-off as the Jeeps overcame an early deficit to defeat the Raiders 41-36 in overtime at Huntingburg Memorial Gym on Tuesday. The Jeeps looked to their five seniors late in the game for clutch free throws and an important and-one to start the OT period. For more photos from the game, click here.


HUNTINGBURG — Every basketball player has their own unique routine when going to the charity stripe to take their foul shots.

NBA superstar Steph Curry lets his mouthpiece hang loose out of his mouth while former all-star and current head coach Jason Kidd used to seal his free throw shots with a kiss.

But Northeast Dubois girls basketball player Clare Mangin has a little bit of a different approach when she’s trying to ice a game.

“I open my mouth and I make sure that I’m smiling real big,” said Mangin, who finished with 11 points and three clutch free throws in the Jeeps 41-36 overtime victory over Southridge on Tuesday night in Huntingburg.

“I’m missing two teeth so I open real wide and make sure everybody sees them and it draws my brain away from the free throws. I know it sounds funny but honestly it clears my head.”

The Jeeps (12-5) trailed by as many as nine points early in the second quarter but clawed their way back until they finally took their first lead since the 6:47 mark in the first quarter midway through the final period of the game.

Adi Denu, who finished with a team-high 14 points, gave the Jeeps the lead back at the 5:45 mark in the fourth quarter but the game was far from finished. The Raiders and Jeeps would trade buckets with Mangin knocking down a shot with 1:10 remaining that gave the Jeeps a two-point lead but Southridge’s Tori Tretter answered back right away to tie the game once again. Kennedy Halley had the final shot of regulation for the Raiders but it fell just short, sending the game to overtime.

Northeast Dubois started out the overtime period with an and-one from Denu and while the Raiders would cut it back to a one-point game, the Jeeps rode the momentum to the final buzzer.

“This was a really important win for us,” Denu said. “Being down double digits and coming back will help us as we get closer to sectional because we’ll make sure that we’re here mentally for every game.”

Northeast Dubois’ five seniors — Mangin, Denu, Tyla Rasche, Kortney Quinn and Alex Dodson — were the primary unit that coach Andy Chinn played throughout the fourth quarter and overtime due to their past experience with close games and the leadership they’ve continued to bring as the season progresses.

“Our seniors are our leaders and they have to be able to play in those types of situations late in games because there’s no one else we’d rather have on the court,” Chinn said. “We as a team have always prided ourselves on grit and effort and tonight was a true grit-and-grind win.”

Even though Southridge led for the majority of the game, several Jeeps, such as Denu, noticed a momentum change in the Jeeps direction in about the second quarter.

However, Mangin didn’t really ever feel a certain change in momentum, but maybe that was just because she wasn’t even 100 percent sure what the score was at certain points late in the game.

“In (Memorial Gym), you can’t really read the score unless you’re sort of at an angle, so there were times, especially in the fourth quarter, where we weren’t really sure who had the lead,” Mangin said with a laugh. “It was a weird kind of game in the fact that we didn’t really know what to expect outcome wise. But once I saw us go up by three points with about 17 seconds left, I felt pretty good and then Adi iced it with the free throws.”

Southridge’s Mady Neukam dribbled through two Jeep defenders in Tuesday night’s loss. Neukam has been the Raiders main offensive threat but with Tori Tretter’s return, Southridge has more options. For more photos from the game, click here.

For the Raiders (2-15), it was a tough loss in an even tougher season. Southridge controlled the game early, leading by as many as nine points midway through the second quarter with Mady Neukam scoring eight of her team-high 15 points in the quarter.

But Southridge struggled late, going just 1-of-4 from the foul line in the overtime period, with chances to either take the lead or tie the game.

“We were where we wanted to be for most of the night but unfortunately this team hasn’t been in that position in many ball games this year and it showed tonight,” Raider head coach Steve Rust said. “This was one of the toughest ones yet.”

A positive for Southridge was senior Tori Tretter who was playing in just her third game back after missing the majority of the season with an injury. Tretter finished with six points, including the shot to send the game to overtime. She’s helped bring some new flavor to the Raider offense.

“We’re much better offensively with her being out there,” Rust said. “She knows how to work the shot corner and she’s a post presence but we need to get her the ball more. We didn’t nearly get her the ball anywhere as much as we should’ve.”

For Northeast Dubois, Mangin says this win is the perfect ‘learning block’ as sectional time rapidly approaches and the Jeeps try and create yet another win streak this season.

“At first, we were a little frazzled but for us to come all the way back and battle through for a win was great, especially this late in the season,” Mangin said. “I think this shows that even if a lot of us don’t have great individual games, we can still do well as a team and come out with a win.”

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