Sluggish second quarter dooms Jeeps



SHOALS — A lot can be said of good starts and better finishes, but sometimes all of that can be undone by stumbles in the middle. The Northeast Dubois boys basketball team learned that lesson on Tuesday night, as a lackluster second quarter caused the Jeeps to fall against the Shoals Jug Rox, 50-40, for their third loss in a row.

Northeast Dubois head coach Terry Friedman said getting outscored 11-2 in the second created a hole which, coupled with the Jeeps (8-13, 3-4) shooting struggles from beyond the arc, was too much to overcome despite their success at limiting Jug Rox (12-8, 5-3) senior center Klayton Tichenor, who he called one of the better front court players that the Jeeps have faced all season.

“We had a bad second quarter,” he said. “We allowed them to get speed out on us. Tonight we just didn’t shoot the ball well enough and we have to keep working at it. They’re a good team, they’re hard to beat on this court.”

Jug Rox senior guard Johnny Sukup scored the first points of the game with a midrange jumper, but junior guard Reece Bauer hit right back for the Jeeps as he came up with a steal that led into a basket in transition. But a threes by senior guard Kenyon Sorrells and junior forward Max Fischer plus a layup from Tichenour gave the Jug Rox a 10-4 lead four minutes into the game. The Jeeps quickly closed the gap however thanks to baskets from Bauer, junior guard Ethan Ziegler, and senior forward Marshall Knies. Bauer then used a feed from sophomore guard Nick Lueken to put the Jeeps up 12-10 as the first quarter came to a close.

Bauer started the second quarter with another layup to increase the lead to 14-10, but afterward the offense stalled for the Jeeps. First Sukup and senior guard Jaycobson Wagoner tied the game up, then senior forward Ryan Hawkins got his bucket to extend the run. Wagoner hit both his free throws after drawing a foul and Tichenour came up with an and-1 play to cap an 11-0 and give the Jug Rox a 21-14 lead at halftime.

The Jug Rox kept pouring it on as they began the third quarter with an 8-0 thanks to a pair of threes from Sorrells and a layup by Fischer. Sophomore forward Lane Knies went one-for-two from the line, but Sukup then led back-to-back fastbreaks to keep the hot streak alive and give the Jug Rox a 33-17 lead with 2:41 left in the third quarter. Bauer then took matters into his own hands and put a solo 7-0 run followed by an assist to Knies to cut the lead down to ten points going into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was an even push by both teams. Sophomore forward Reece Sherrill hit a three, which was answered on the other end by Knies. Tichenour was able to collect a few more buckets, as did Bauer, Knies and senior guard Logan Dodd. But at the halfway point in the fourth the game turned into a hack off as both teams traded fouls and shots at the free throw line. The Jug Rox hit 10-of-18 and the Jeeps made six of their seven attempts, but they weren’t able to collect enough rebounds to create new offense and the Jug Rox went on to win it 50-40, snapping their four-game losing streak.

Tichenour and Sorrells both had 11 points. Bauer finished with 22, while Knies had eight points.

“We came out sluggish and Shoals brought it to us quick. I know we could have done a lot better tonight,” said Bauer. “Shoals is a good ball club and they proved that. We could have played better tonight.”

With two more games in the regular season the Jeeps have couple of opportunities to tune things and get back to where they were a few weeks ago when they won three in a four-game stretch. The Jeeps believe that if they just band together and keep working at the things they can control, like ball movement and valuing possessions, they’ll be right where they need to be when it’s time to play tournament games.

“We've got to keep fighting and battling,” said Friedman. “This is the time where the team has to pull together and fight or each other. We have to keep moving forward here the best we can.”

“We just need to stay positive,” added Bauer. “We need to get in the gym and shoot a couple more shots so when the tournament comes around we’re prepared for that. We mainly need to stay positive, come together as a team and it’ll all work out.”

More on