Wildcats snap two-game skid

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper junior Tanner Erny (11) converts a layup off of a steal in the second half Tuesday against Corydon Central. Erny notched 12 points, and the Wildcats ended a two-game skid with a 59-48 win against the Panthers.


JASPER — John Goebel had some frustration at practice on Monday.

The Jasper boys basketball coach noted that the Wildcats (3-7) combined for 42 turnovers during their two-game skid on Jan. 15 and 16.

Goebel noted that the turnovers Jasper had Jan. 15 at Evansville Bosse weren’t acceptable, but understandable because of the presses, while the turnovers the next night came in spite of Washington not pressing the Wildcats.

Jasper managed to snap that two-game skid Tuesday night with a 59-48 win against Corydon Central, even though some of the problems the Wildcats have had this season did appear against the Panthers.

They didn’t always finish at the rim, allowed points off of offensive rebounds and did have some second half turnovers.

Goebel noted that the Wildcats do play hard, but they have to play smart and play better.

“We did it in spurts,” Goebel said after Tuesday’s win. “We had moments where we’d make a run and pull away between 10-and-15 points. What I’m disappointed is we had three turnovers at halftime, and 10 in the second half, and many of the turnovers in the second half were unforced. We weren’t strong with the ball, we made careless passes and made some bad decisions again.”

However, the Wildcats also shared the basketball on Tuesday, including in the fourth quarter when six different players scored in the final eight minutes. Nine different players scored for Jasper, with three in double figures and nearly had a fourth.

The Wildcats also used a big second quarter when they went on a 17-4 run against the Panthers after being tied, 14-14, at the end of the first.

Jasper did all sorts of things in that quarter to separate itself from Corydon Central.

The Wildcats got the rebounds from the Panthers’ shots, pushed the ball up the floor, fed the ball inside the paint to junior Gus Heichelbech, who had five of his nine points in that quarter.

They also kicked the ball out, with junior Tanner Erny and sophomore Carter Mundy nailing some open looks from downtown for some 3-pointers.

Some of the same mistakes that have plagued the Wildcats in losses this season reappeared in the third quarter. Corydon Central went on a 9-4 run to begin the third, partly off of the aforementioned second half turnovers, and a Jasper timeout with 5:16 to play in the third.

The Wildcats also allowed some offensive rebounds, including one just before the buzzer where they weren’t in position, and the Panthers capitalized. That offensive rebound before the buzzer trimmed Jasper’s lead to 44-36 after three.

Goebel noted that finishing games is still a challenge for Jasper, and it will be a point of emphasis for the team, as they will look to put things together for 32 minutes. He said it will take toughness, maturity and experience to put it all together, and added the Wildcats are working on all three things at the moment.

“They’re going to have to grow up in a hurry, and they’re going to have to get serious about all those things necessary to win at the end of a game,” he added. “And they’re just going to have to do it more. They’re going to have to be there more often. We are still a pretty young team, and we’re growing, but at some point, that can’t be an excuse anymore, because at some point, we call ourselves a veteran team because of all the games that we’ve been in down the stretch.

“We’re happy with the win tonight,” Goebel added. “We’re still looking for better execution.”

Jasper is set to be back at it Friday at home against county rival Forest Park, and the Rangers are looking to snap a two-game skid of their own. Goebel noted that the Wildcats have to play team, fundamental defense against a Rangers squad that can also share the basketball, and with junior Drew Howard producing some big games this month. It’ll have to take making shots, making free throws, taking care of the basketball and defending without mistakes.

“We’re going to have to be a better team Friday than we were tonight to be able to win,” he said.

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