Stout defense gives Jeeps 66-47 win over Shoals

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois (1-0, 1-0) wanted to make an early statement against Blue Chip Conference rival Shoals on Tuesday evening, and Jeeps junior forward Hadley Fuhrman did not intend to waste any time.

Fuhrman led the Jeeps with 20 points in the 66-47 victory over the Jug Rox. Although Northeast Dubois generated an ample supply of offense, the Jeeps’ defensive intensity caused havoc.

Northeast Dubois opened the game in a tight full-court press. Shoals scrambled, but struggled to maneuver through the pressure. In turn, the Jeeps raced out to an early 12-2 lead.

“It’s early in the season,” Northeast Dubois head coach Andy Chinn said. “We’re still working on a lot of different things, but I was really proud of our effort. We’ve been really working hard on defense in these two weeks of practice. It showed tonight.”

As the second quarter progressed, Northeast Dubois dropped back into various zone defenses. While playing the passing lanes with aplomb, the Jeeps forced a litany of deflections and turnovers.

“We give an award at the end of the year,” Chinn said. “Charges, assists, rebounds, deflections and steals. Deflections are a big part of it.”

At the intermission, Northeast Dubois held a convincing 40-28 lead. The Jeeps started the physical second half with ambitious drives to the basket.

Drawing fouls became a main priority. When the Jug Rox collapsed inside the paint, the Jeeps sought out the contact.

“We had our slashers penetrating through the paint,” Chinn said. “Any time we get the ball inside, it looks good. We had a lot of movement tonight. I was proud of the way we looked."

Shoals found some open shooters in the period, but Northeast Dubois took a 52-43 lead into the final frame. The last possession of the third quarter served as a metaphor for the game — although the Jug Rox moved the ball around the perimeter, the buzzer sounded before the visitors could muster a shot attempt.

Still, Shoals hung around for the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Chinn tipped his cap to the Jug Rox for their development.

“They’ve improved a lot,” he said. “They had some girls hit some really tough shots. Our girls were prepared from the scouting report. I’ll tell you what — they hit some really tough shots. I’m still proud of our defense.”

The Jeeps’ final surge secured the victory in the opener. Aggressive drives from Fuhrman and sophomore guard Rhylan Kalb put the game away.

“This means a lot,” Chinn said. “I can’t tell you the last time we started 1-0 (2014-15). Shoals is a good team. They showed that tonight.”

Kalb contributed 18 points for the Jeeps, while sophomore forward Reagan Knies added 14 points. Shoals junior Haley Fischer scored a team-high 18 points for the Jug Rox.

“In a pandemic like this, we’re not sure what game is our last,” Chinn said. “I’m just really proud of the girls’ effort. They were really taking advantage of being able to play tonight.”

Northeast Dubois will not have much time to rest. The Jeeps will play a non-conference game at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Paoli.

“We’ll just keep treating every day like it’s a day to get better,” Chinn said.