Supporting cast sparks Patriots past WildcatsFebruary 3, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
LINCOLN CITY — The trio of Murray Becher, Simon Scherry and Blake Sisley has undoubtedly played a major role in the Class 3A No. 5 Heritage Hills boys basketball team’s hot start to the season.
But perhaps when the Patriots are at their most dangerous is when the shots start falling from elsewhere.
Enter Carson Leibering and Cole Sigler — two of Heritage Hills’ biggest playmakers in the team’s 60-48 victory over Jasper on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln City. The win was the Patriots 15th consecutive victory.
“I just go out there and try to play 110 percent,” said Leibering, who finished with 10 points off of the bench for the Pats. He had a career-high 15 points a couple weeks ago in a big road victory over Mater Dei. “Our coaches just want me to play hard and give us a lift when I can and that’s what I try to do.”
Sigler, who also finished with 10 points, added: “I think it’s obviously a good thing if I can score and help out the team but it’s just a bonus (when I score) — I just try to play strong defense and do what I can out there.”
Just because Leibering and Sigler had big nights, doesn’t mean that the trio of aforementioned players didn’t contribute as well. Becher led all Patriot scorers with 17 points, Scherry finished with 13 points (including a buzzer-beating three-pointer before halftime) and five assists while Sisley notched 10 rebounds to go along with five points.
For Heritage Hills head coach Nate Hawkins, the effort he’s seen from the supporting cast has been a big key for the Patriots here lately and it’s been that way for the past couple of games.
“I thought Carson was really good today and he’s been really, really good the past four or five games for us,” Hawkins said. “When we can get those kind of minutes out of him, Cole and Dylan (Begle), it just makes us better. It seemed like early on (in the game) we got frustrated because things weren’t going like they always do for us. But we needed to show some toughness and grit it out and that’s what we did.”
The beginning of the game was certainly a back-and-forth battle. The Patriots (18-1) jumped out to an early 10-4 lead which forced a Jasper timeout after Sigler scored five early points.
Jasper (10-7) climbed back toward the end of the quarter as Jared Englert scored six first quarter points and the Cats took their first lead since the opening bucket on Jackson Kabrick’s three-pointer with just a few seconds left before the end of the quarter.
he second quarter was much like the first with neither team gaining much of an advantage over the other one. Jasper led 20-16 early in the quarter but the Patriots proceeded to go on an 8-0 run thanks to three-pointers from Becher and Sisley to regain a 24-20 lead. With seven seconds left in the quarter, Englert made a three-point shot that made it look as if the Cats would only trail by three points at the halftime break but then Scherry made a buzzer-beater from beyond half-court to put the Pats ahead 34-28 at the break.
While Jasper was within striking distance at halftime, head coach John Goebel was disappointed with the turnovers the Cats had in the first half — they finished with 13 total.
“They had 10 points off of turnovers in the first half and you just can’t do that — they’re hard enough to stop anyway, you can’t spot them 10 points,” Goebel said. “The other factor tonight was one that keeps rearing its head — we’re not getting to the foul line against good teams. Even when we did get there, we were only 1-of-4.”
Jasper trailed by just three early in the third quarter but then the Patriots started to pull away as they gained a 10-point advantage after a Sigler three midway through the quarter. The lead stretched to 12 going into the fourth after Leibering hit a three-pointer to make it 49-37.
Jasper kept it at about a ten-point differential through a lot of the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get any closer than that.
Murray Becher led Heritage Hills with 17 points while Simon Scherry (13), Cole Sigler (10) and Carson Leibering (10) all finished in double-figures.
Jared Englert, who Goebel said was very “valuable” on Saturday, led the Cats with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Reece Milligan added 13 points.
While the Cats have lost five of their last six games, they’ve lost to very good teams. Southridge, Forest Park, New Albany, Barr-Reeve and Heritage Hills have a combined record of 69-22.
“We’re competing against some of the better teams in the area and we’re going to do it again on Tuesday (against Evansville Mater Dei),” Goebel said. “The goal is to go into the sectional as good as we possibly can be so win or lose these games, we’re going to be moving forward and getting better.”
For Hawkins and the Patriots, they’re trying not think too much about the 15-game winning streak. They want to make sure they continue to stay focused on whatever game is next and not look too far ahead.
“Our main goal is to take things one game at a time,” Hawkins said. “When you start looking too far ahead, that’s when you can slip up. We feel that if we stay focused and determined and continue to understand scouting reports, we can get the job done.”
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