Wildcats roll to fourth straight win

Caleb Burger

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

PETERSBURG — Jasper boys basketball coach John Goebel adopted an interesting substitution strategy for Friday’s game against Pike Central. Instead of subbing in players one or two at a time, Goebel decided to switch between two different five-man units in the first half and the tail-end of the second. Goebel had his reasons for switching to a mass-substitution protocol at such a late point in the season.

“The top six guys in the rotation played a lot of minutes this year,” he said. “So it didn’t hurt to rest their legs a little bit. At the same time, we also have to get the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10, 11th (and) 12th guys some quality minutes too. We thought tonight would be a good opportunity for that.”

The experiment yielded positive results as the Wildcats (16-5) used a fast start to dispatch the Chargers (1-17) 62-29 for their fourth win in a row.

Chargers senior guard Ethan Scott scored the first points of the night, but the senior trio of Quentin Harmon, Jackson Kabrick and Reece Day scored consecutive baskets to build a 9-2 lead. Shots from senior guard Jaylon Mills and junior forward Ethan Gorby drew the Chargers within four, but a trilogy of 3-pointers from sophomore guard Isaac Day and junior guard Caleb Burger expanded the lead in a hurry. Scott came up with a fastbreak score, but the Wildcats led 20-9 at the end of the first.

Harmon opened the second with five points, and sophomore guard Tanner Erny added another score to make for a 7-0 run. Scott put in the Chargers’ lone second quarter bucket before Burger, junior forward Jace Goodhue and junior guard Isaac Heim finished out the quarter. The Wildcats outscored the Chargers 12-2 in the second quarter.

Jackson Kabrick

A Harmon putback shot started the third followed by a 1-for-2 trip to the line by senior guard Carter Stamm and another Kabrick score. Scott and freshman guard Peyton Howald combined on consecutive shots to try and spark the Chargers, but the Wildcats continued to pour it on with scores from Harmon, Stamm and senior forward Elliot Hopf for a 46-19 lead by the end of the third.

Jasper played with its starting lineup for most of the third quarter, but the second platoon brought it home in the fourth. Erny scored six points in the final frame, while Heim, Isaac Day and junior guard William Schmitt picked up the remaining slack. Gorby, sophomore guard Alex Clark and junior guard Sean Hanselman combined for 10 points in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to stave off the Chargers’ eleventh consecutive loss.

Harmon had 18 points and five rebounds while Isaac Day and Erny each finished with 10. Scott had nine points for the Chargers.

“(We) came out with a lot of energy,” said Isaac Day. “We’re working on trying to execute better every game. This game we came out and did it.”

“We came out and competed pretty hard tonight,” added Burger, who finished with five points and three assists in a kind of throwback role to his sophomore season. Burger played with the second unit on Friday, though he has been a regular starter this year. “I felt confident coming off the bench like I did last year. I was excited to play more with the guys who usually come off the bench.”

Goebel was proud of how the Wildcats experienced no dropoff in production between the first and second units, and he believes Friday’s game will make the team that much stronger by adding some seasoning to their bench.

Quentin Harmon

“We didn’t skip a beat,” he said. “ I like that we were able to play twelve guys. We kept increasing our lead. When you play twelve guys deep and can still be competitive, that’s a nice compliment to our young men. It was a chance to get better going into the tournament.”

The Wildcats will be back at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to travel to Elnora to play the North Daviess Cougars (15-7) in their final regular season game.




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