Third quarter runs lead to Wildcats' second home loss


Brooke Nottingham

JASPER — Basketball is a four-quarter game, but sometimes a team only needs a few minutes during crucial stretches in a game to either lock in or lose their desired result. A few minutes was all that it took for Jasper’s second home game to get away from it, as the Evansville Memorial Tigers used a pair of scoring runs in the third quarter to get leverage and defeat the Wildcats, 57-43.

Coach Jessica Mehringer thought the Wildcats (1-2) fought hard and used scrappy baskets to themselves back into the game on several occasions. At the same time, they fell victim to some difficult plays throughout the game that kept them from closing the distance between themselves and the Tigers (2-0).

“We were in this game,” she said. “There were several times we were under 10 (points), had a chance and a bucket didn’t fall, or we ended up fouling somebody on one of those leak-out shots and they would extend the lead again. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes, so we have to fight through some of those (things).”

The Wildcats got off to a rough start as they quickly found themselves down 10-1 to the Tigers in the first quarter. Senior guard Brooke Nottingham took matters into her own hands and fought for six points that kept the game in the two-possession range going into the second quarter.

Nottingham, along with senior guard Claire Knies and sophomore guard Aspen Sermersheim, made plays that got the Wildcats within one possession of the Tigers, but Memorial always had a response, including a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 24-15 midway through the second. Still, the Wildcats fought back as Nottingham and junior guard Hannah Schwenk combined for six points in the final minutes of the second.

The Wildcats were only down five points at the start of the second half, but baskets from junior guard Ryleigh Anslinger and junior center Hope Lensing sparked a 10-3 run that solidified the Tigers' grip on the court proceedings. Anslinger also played a central role in a 7-0 burst that ended the third quarter with five points, including a four-point play with less than 20 seconds remaining that gave the Tigers a 43-31 lead. Jasper kept the fight going in the fourth, but Memorial held a 14-12 to maintain its lead and secure the win.

Anslinger finished with 18 points, while freshman guard Emily Mattingly finished with 12. Senior guard Brooke Nottingham had 13 for the Wildcats.

“I thought we had a lot of good opportunities,” said Nottingham. “A couple of times we had the chance to come back and things didn’t go our way. Something we’ve always kind of struggled with is coming out strong in the third quarter. That was the game changer.”

Despite the loss, Mehringer felt that the Wildcats made progress and played with more composure than they displayed in their game against Evansville North. For now, Mehringer thinks the biggest area of concern is the transition defense, which she felt was the biggest difference maker in the game.

“We knew transition D was going to be a factor, and we didn’t do a very good job of getting back on defense,” said Mehringer. “We talked to them at halftime that transition defense was the difference in the game at that point. The points they scored were in transition. They weren’t on halfcourt stuff. It’s one of those things where they have to see it on video because they’re not recognizing when they need to release and get back.”

Jasper's next game will be on the road against North Harrison (3-2) on Dec. 3.

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