Young Jeeps enter postseason with promiseJanuary 27, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
The Northeast Dubois girls basketball team came into this season with a sense of what they would have to overcome.
Gone was the core of seniors that led the Jeeps to last season’s sectional title, and in their place was a collection of players who were tasked with stepping up to fill those shoes and roles of those that came before them.
Sure they were young and didn’t have the experience that marked last year’s team, but Northeast Dubois head coach Andy Chinn didn’t let that dissuade them from having the expectations and goals that come with being the defending sectional champions. He tried to instill in them that a winning attitude and the heart to compete doesn’t all lie with the class of players that have graduated and moved on ahead of them.
“Our players this year knew they had big shoes to fill,” he said. “But one thing we say is that tradition doesn’t graduate. We’ve had the approach that we’re winners and we try to get better every single day.”
But it was tough on the team to meet the challenge with five brand new starters coming together and trying to figure it all out as they went along.
The Jeeps went through a lot of rough patches and losses as they worked through their season, but never wavered from their ideals and what they set out to accomplish every time they hit the floor. They salvaged and learned what they could from all their results, good or bad, and are proud of the progression they have achieved at this point in the year.
“Everybody individually and as a team grew so much, it’s really uplifting to see that everyone has worked so hard over the season,” said junior guard Madison Cave, who was third in the area with 13.5 points per game. “Everyone is taking more shot opportunities on offense, and we’re working better as a team. That’s all I can ask for out of the whole team.”
“It’s been a night and day difference from our first game with how much better we’ve gotten mentally and fundamentally,” said Chinn. “I think our team basketball IQ has really gone up a lot these last three months. We take care of the ball better, rebound, find the open man — we’re understanding basketball.”
With that in mind they are continuing the march forward into sectional with the vision of defending their title.
Chinn likes to break down the Jeeps’ season into three parts and feels that everything the team has endured has readied them for this final leg of their journey. They’re not going into the tournament with their heads low, they are ready to stand and play to whatever conclusion lies before them.
“We are the defending champs, and until somebody can knock us off we have the approach that it’s ours to lose,” he said. “As young as our team is, they all played last year. They felt what it was like to cut down the nets, they know what it takes and how it feels. It’s exciting to think about what could happen.”
The Jeeps will have to wait for the smoke to clear between Wood Memorial and Springs Valley to find out who they will play on Friday, Feb. 1, but no matter which team advances the preparation will remain consistent.
Cleaning up the miscues is at the top of the priority list, and if they do that the Jeeps believe they have a shot at whatever comes to meet them on the court.
“Our little mistakes are going to bite us in the butt if we do not fix (them),” said Cave. “The traveling and not being able to catch the ball, little things like that cost us the game sometimes. We can fix that, but that’s just where we have to work together, talk, and know what we’re going to do in whatever type of situation it is. If we can do that we can accomplish anything.”
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