Wildcats fall short in rally versus Titans

Brooke Nottingham


JASPER — Time winded down when Jasper senior Brooke Nottingham went for a fast break bucket at the rim Tuesday night at Gibson Southern.

However, Nottingham could not make the shot. Gibson Southern senior Macie Foster then took her time with the ball down the floor on the other end and laid one in during the waning seconds. That brought the game to its final score, 53-47, and prevented the Wildcats (8-10) from a second straight victory.

“We kind of thought that if we could keep this game under 50, that we would have a chance to win it, and we did,” Jasper coach Jessica Mehringer said.

Mehringer said the coaching staff was proud of Jasper’s heart and effort. She’s glad the Wildcats have been executing game plans and working hard on defense. However, the coaches also talked about free throws after the game. Jasper went 10-of-19 at the free throw line on Tuesday. The Wildcats missed some shots when they held the lead, the latest of which was 45-44 in the fourth quarter. Nottingham and junior Hannah Schwenk each could not make the first end of a one-and-one. The Titans shot 9-of-20 at the charity stripe, but senior Brooke Goedde stepped to the line for a pair in the fourth quarter, and sank both shots. That gave Gibson Southern the lead for good, 46-45. That began a 5-0 run for the Titans, who won their seventh straight game on Tuesday.

Gibson Southern took a 27-26 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Titans went on a 13-2 run at one point in the second quarter, and Jasper coach Jessica Mehringer took a timeout with 4:02 left to play in the half and the score 21-17. Mehringer was not happy with the Wildcats not blocking out and giving up offensive rebounds to the Titans.

“A lot of those rebounds were out of transition,” she said. “So, we just weren’t getting back and finding, and that’s been an Achilles’ heel for us is transition defense. So, it’s definitely something we are going to be focusing on and making sure that we’re getting back and finding people that we know can hurt us on offensive rebounds.”

Claire Knies

Mehringer was proud of the way the Wildcats responded after she took that timeout. Jasper went on a 9-6 run to end the first half. Senior Claire Knies, who finished with a game-high 16 points, tried to get a put back in the waning seconds on an offensive rebound after junior Kendyl Ruhe missed a three in the right corner, but the buzzer already sounded. That would’ve given Jasper the halftime lead. The Wildcats began the second half on a 5-0 run, and mere points separated them from the Titans the rest of the way.

Jasper has five games remaining in the regular season. Only one of those teams has a losing record as of Wednesday, but Mehringer thinks the Wildcats stack up well. She thinks Jasper will be hard to beat when the team plays together and does the stuff they’ve been working on in practice. The Wildcats will have three days to work on things before returning to the floor at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday when they host a Jeffersonville team they haven’t beaten since Jan. 18, 2014. She said Jasper will focus on passing in pressure and playing intense defense, such as communicating and playing help defense. Mehringer added communication will also stretch to the offensive side of the floor with players needing to know who is touching the ball each possession.

“I think we’ve got kids that have all heart,” Mehringer said. “They’re all in. They’re going to work, and we’re going to continue to work on all phases of the game, so that we’re ready for anything anyone throws at us.”

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