Wildcats top Rangers for eighth straight win

Photos by Kayla Renie/The Herald
Jasper's Quentin Harmon (35), Jasper's Jackson Kabrick (15) and Forest Park's Blake Hagedorn (44) fight for possession of the ball during Friday's boys basketball game in Ferdinand. Jasper defeated Forest Park 62-53.
For more photos from the game, click here.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — Jasper’s win streak is now up to eight games following a 62-53 triumph Friday at Forest Park.

The Wildcats (11-2) and Rangers (10-4) traded buckets and leads during the first half in this county rivalry. Jasper and Forest Park exchanged 3-pointers on three straight possessions in the first half. The Rangers found themselves in a 28-26 deficit at the half after sophomore Drew Howard made both free throws with no time left following a Jasper foul. Forest Park was on Jasper’s heels when the Wildcats held a 34-33 lead in the third quarter, but that was when Jasper turned on a switch.

The Wildcats went on a 10-1 run to end the third quarter. They found ways to get points past Forest Park’s transition defense and also turned their own defense into points. Junior Jace Goodhue came off the bench and notched two steals that he converted into layups during the 10-1 run.

“When you’re in a tight ballgame, easy buckets mean everything because Forest Park wasn’t giving away easy buckets,” Jasper coach John Goebel said. “We had to earn in the half court everything we got.”

Goebel wanted to see more from Jasper’s offense in recent games, and he thought the Wildcats shot the ball better on Friday. He felt the inside-out scoring mentality Jasper possessed paid off in the game.

“They’re a great team and they’re going to make a lot of noise, I think, in that 4A sectional,” Forest Park coach David Welp said.

Welp noted Jasper’s ability to get in transition on offense. He said the Rangers need to be in a sense of urgency and get back while playing defense. Welp thought his players took for granted they would have somebody back, but they didn’t. He said all five players need to step up, get back and play better on defense.

He added the need to take care of the basketball, and Jasper capitalized off of Goodhue’s two steals. Howard, who scored 14 points, had a five-second inbound violation called against him with 2:50 to go in the game. Welp talked about continuing to stress maximizing possessions. He thought Jasper out-hustled Forest Park and that the Wildcats deserved to win.

Both teams had a trio of players score double-digits. Jasper senior Carter Stamm and Forest Park senior Isaac Uebelhor tied for a game-high 15 points. Stamm scored sixth points in the fourth quarter, trying to hold off a Rangers rally when they went on a 6-0 run at one point in the fourth. Wildcats senior Jackson Kabrick and junior Caleb Burger tied with 14 points. Forest Park junior Simon Jacob scored 12. Jasper senior Quentin Harmon scored three points, but pulled down 16 rebounds.

Forest Park will turn right back around today when it hosts Pocket Athletic Conference rival Tecumseh. The Rangers are 2-1 in PAC play. Welp said they must execute better, take care of the basketball and push the ball in transition when they are on offense against the Braves.

“They’re a very tough team,” he said. “(Coach) Kevin Oxley is a great coach and has been coaching for many years because he’s such a good coach...He’s going to play some man (defense). He might play some zone. He might trap. He might do a little bit of everything.”

Jasper will have a layoff until Jan. 31 when it welcomes another county rival, Northeast Dubois. The Wildcats will be tasked with trying to stop Jeeps senior Reece Bauer.

“We haven’t figured that out yet and most people haven’t,” Goebel said on trying to stop Bauer. “It takes more than one person to guard him. We’re going to have to be aware of him. We’ll be working on that game plan this week.”

Forest Park's Drew Howard (14) shoots the ball as Jasper's Quentin Harmon (35) attempts to block during Friday's boys basketball game in Ferdinand. Jasper defeated Forest Park 62-53.
For more photos from the game, click here.

Friday’s game between the Wildcats and Rangers was the Coaches vs. Cancer game. Many fans were decked out in pink, and the Forest Park coaching staff donned pink shirts as well. Coaches on both sides wore sneakers instead of dress shoes. Forest Park accepted donations for the Lange Fuhs Cancer Center. Attendants at the game contributed a grand total of $1,214.02.

“That is awesome when our communities can get together and support a great cause,” Welp said. “Cancer has directly or indirectly affected all of us. It’s a terrible disease. Hopefully, we can help families who have cancer or had cancer.”

For more photos from the game, click here.




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