Wildcats emerge in OT thriller

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper Junior Isaac Day (5) handles the ball for Jasper on Tuesday. Day scored 15 points, including a layup at the buzzer in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. The Wildcats defeated Southridge, 49-44.


JASPER — It looked as if things were going to continue the way they were going for Southridge and Jasper. It seemed as if the Raiders (4-5) were going to escape Jasper with a victory after Colson Montgomery made both ends of a one-and-one with 3.6 seconds to play.

It seemed as if the Wildcats (2-5), after fighting so hard to tie things after being down double figures in the second half, and again late in the game, were going to succumb to yet another close loss. However, junior Isaac Day and Co. had other ideas as they persevered to a 49-44 victory in overtime.

Day didn’t score a single point in the first half of play, but he suddenly found more of his niche in the second half, and of all the buckets he’s made, arguably the biggest one to date came when he zipped down the floor with three seconds left to tie it, 42-42, to send the game to overtime.

“‘Just hit the shot…hit that dang shot,’” Day thought to himself as he penetrated towards the rim. “I wasn’t shooting well the whole game, but I needed to make that when that counted.”

“I want to give some credit to Caleb Begle here,” Jasper coach John Goebel said. “Caleb is our JV coach, and he drew up a real simple inbound with three seconds left — hit the middle, pull the ball to Isaac Day up the side — it was a simple concept, but it was well executed. The right guy had the ball. Isaac Day…the guy we would’ve wanted with the ball, and he got in the paint and hit that shot at the buzzer.

“JV coach Caleb Begle gets some kudos for the Xs and Os, but the players, once again, are the ones that executed,” Goebel continued.

Southridge coach Mark Rohrer conveyed to his players in a timeout after Montgomery’s two free throws what he wanted the Raiders to do — to keep the ball in front of them and to foul Jasper on the first dribble, but Southridge did neither.

The Raiders had a 27-15 lead at one point in the third quarter, but the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to tie it, with junior Connor Foley’s dunk being the tying bucket.

“We played personnel really well in the first half,” Rohrer said. “That was key number one going into this game was turnovers and playing personnel the right way. We decided to get complacent in the second half instead building on what we had. Giving ourselves that first half, we just got kind of complacent, we didn’t play personnel the right way. Credit to Jasper, because they made the plays they needed to to get back in the game.”

The Wildcats got off to a 4-0 run in overtime when junior Gus Heichelbech, whose 3-pointer tied it, 40-40, broke the tie in OT, and Day had another bucket that turned out to be the game-winner. The Raiders, meanwhile, had their possessions. But Montgomery, who can make a three from many places on the court, had his shots falling short, and the Raiders managed a single bucket in OT from junior Carter Whitehead.

Southridge senior Colson Montgomery (23) being guarded by fellow Jace Goodhue (51) of Jasper, looks to get a pass off in Tuesday's game. Montgomery scored 21 points in the losing effort, as Southridge fell, 49-44, in overtime.

“We cannot let one negative turn into a second negative and a third negative and a snowball,” Rohrer said. “And for some reason, even with the maturity that we have on this group, a lot of seniors and juniors, we allowed that play to negatively affect, in my opinion, the way that we played in overtime.”

The Raiders will hope to get back into the win column Friday night at Pocket Athletic Conference rival Mount Vernon (Posey). The Raiders are 2-0 in PAC play so far this season.

Jasper will also return to conference action Friday evening when the Wildcats travel to Evansville Bosse in their effort to get their second win in Southern Indiana Athletic Conference play this year.

“We’re going to have to have our best defensive effort because they run the floor well,” Goebel said. “They run the floor well — they put up a lot of shots. They crash the boards offensively, and they put up a lot of points in a hurry. And if we’re not getting the basketball and blocking out, it’s going to be a long night for us.”

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