Wildcats squeak out close win against Bears

Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Jasper's Carter Stamm shoots the ball over Evansville Central's Andrew Windle during Friday's boys basketball game in Jasper. Jasper defeated Evansville Central 43-41.


JASPER — There was no time left on the clock in the fourth quarter Friday, and Jasper led by three, but the game had not been decided yet.

Senior Carter Stamm of the Wildcats (5-2) fouled Evansville Central junior Henry Brown behind the 3-point line as the buzzer sounded. Brown had the ball in his hands after Wildcats senior Quentin Harmon could’ve put the game out of reach with seconds to play. Harmon missed the first end of a one-and-one, and now Brown, who previously had six points, could’ve forced overtime when he went to the free throw line for three.

He sank his first one, but the second did not go in. He held his head, and did not attempt his final free throw. Jasper held on, 43-41, for its first game in 13 days and first home game since Dec. 13.

“Yesterday, the last day of our holiday break, we had a really poor practice,” Jasper coach John Goebel said. “We didn’t execute well in practice, didn’t work very hard in practice. We were disinterested. It was really a disappointing practice, and so, as a coach, what happened tonight was something that I was a little bit prepared for, hoping that it wouldn’t happen, but it did happen. We played like we practiced yesterday. We didn’t execute very well. We didn’t shoot very well and we didn’t at times work very hard.”

Goebel also credited the Bears because even though they only have one win on the season, they play a tough schedule and have had close losses this year. He said the Bears are better than their record, and the Wildcats allowed them to stay in the game. Goebel pointed to careless turnovers and inability to finish on offense as factors. 

He said the Wildcats defended the perimeter except they had that foul for no reason. Goebel chalked up the foul to Stamm being himself because of how aggressive and competitive he is as a player. Goebel said it was a foul and the correct call was made. He said Stamm needs to go straight up and contest the shot in that situation rather than swat the ball down. Goebel thinks Stamm will learn from that and not do it again.

Senior Jackson Kabrick, who tied for a game-high 12 points, helped carry Jasper across the finish line with clutch free throw shooting. He made both shots with 37.2 seconds to play, giving the Wildcats a 41-37 edge. They made just one shot from downtown Friday, while the Bears had six. Four of those 3-pointers came from junior Caiden Byrd, who tied Kabrick in scoring. His final three trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to one at 41-40.

However, Kabrick made both ends of a one-and-one with 22.9 seconds to play. Jasper could not score any more after that, and Goebel said the Wildcats were fortunate to survive.

Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Jasper's Jackson Kabrick makes a layup during Friday's boys basketball game in Jasper. Jasper defeated Evansville Central 43-41.

“I told them I wasn’t real surprised with the way things went tonight,” he said. “First of all, Central is an improved basketball team, and we did not conduct ourselves properly at practice yesterday on that last day of break. So, what happened tonight was just a continuation of our attitude at Thursday’s practice. I told them we’re lucky to survive and win tonight, but we’re going to have to be much better tomorrow night to get us a win at (Evansville) North.”

Still, he said Jasper should show up with confidence Saturday and appreciate it toughed out a hard fought Friday. The Wildcats will take on a 3-4 Huskies team. Evansville North fell, 70-60, to Evansville Mater Dei on Friday. Goebel said the results will ultimately rely on his team’s shoulders and in their efforts. He said the Wildcats must decide to make the changes that are asked of them, such as getting to the foul line and rim more often, knocking down open shots and avoiding careless turnovers and fouls. Goebel also wants to get the ball inside more often on offense.

“Hopefully, we’ll get these things worked out and by the time March comes around,” Goebel said.

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