Wildcats escape against conference rival WashingtonJanuary 17, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Jasper’s win streak remained in tact on Friday night, but not before it was jeopardized.
The Wildcats (9-2, 3-1) had to hold off Big Eight Conference rival Washington with 16.4 seconds to go. Jasper held a 44-43 lead, but the Hatchets were on a 4-0 run, and senior Quentin Harmon missed the first end of a one-and-one for the Wildcats. Senior Grant Niehaus took a jump shot for Washington. It did not go, the ball got away and the Wildcats and student section jumped and roared after escaping with a one-point win.
“Washington is a good shooting team,” Jasper coach John Goebel said. “They’re a well-coached team. They were 9-2 and it took a heck of an effort to be able to beat them tonight.”
Goebel thought the Wildcats had a gutsy performance in the game. He praised how well they were locked-in and intense. Goebel liked how well Jasper shared the ball, moved the ball and defended against the Hatchets. The Wildcats gave up four threes in the opening quarter, but held Washington to two points in the second off of a Niehaus shot at the buzzer. However, Goebel thought the Wildcats didn’t shoot the ball well.
Jasper got some open looks in the first half, but the shots did not fall. The Wildcats had to turn to their game at the rim and score through penetration to build up a 20-19 halftime lead. Harmon had eight first-half points, 11 total, and got his first half scoring inside for his team. Senior Jackson Kabrick finished with a game-high 18 points for Jasper. Kabrick generated multiple penetration buckets in the opening half. The Wildcats later had better luck from downtown, with four shots going in from beyond the arc in the latter half. Two of them came from Kabrick, and one of his shots went in after a pump fake. Harmon and fellow senior Carter Stamm accounted for the other two threes.
“Even when the shots aren’t going down, if you’re going to face a zone (defense), you have to score from the perimeter,” Goebel said. “You have to. We want to score inside out, but if you’re going to bust up a zone, it has to start on the 3-point line. That’s what we talked about at halftime is even though they haven’t gone down, they have been good looks and as long as they’re good looks and we’re running our offense, we have to keep shooting.”
Offensive rebounds helped propel Jasper in the game. The Wildcats got points at times through second chance buckets. Junior Caleb Burger had what turned out to be the winning bucket that made it 44-39 at the time. His basket came after a Jasper offensive rebound.
Goebel said the Hatchets aren’t a zone team, but playing zone Friday night proved to be an obstacle when trying to block out.
“If you’re not used to doing it, that especially causes problems,” he said. “I think because they were zoning, you’re not assigned to a certain man to block out obviously, and that allowed our guys to get some offensive boards.”
He said the Wildcats would enjoy Friday night’s win before going back to work. Jasper hopes to make it seven wins in a row Saturday when it travels to Huntingburg Memorial Gym to face county rival Southridge. The Raiders prevailed in overtime, 40-38, last season. Jasper had previously won seven games in a row in the series. The Raiders have not played since a 56-41 loss Jan. 11 at Northeast Dubois.
“Hopefully, we’ll move the ball like we did tonight and get good looks and knock them down,” Goebel said. “That’s the thing about playing Southridge. Tonight was an emotional game. Tomorrow night will be an emotional game. They’re also a rival of ours. So, they’ll be up. There will be a lot of energy in that gym, and we have to be able to match that two nights in a row.”
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