HOPE — Practice might not make a team perfect, but to Hauser boys basketball coach Bob Nobbe, it was pretty darn good on Friday night in a 73-64 victory over visiting Waldron.
“I was very happy,” Nobbe said after watching his team force the Mohawks into 21 turnovers. “I think we played our best defense of the year in the third quarter. I thought we gave a great defensive effort in practice all week.”
Although the Jets (5-5 overall, 2-2 Mid-Hoosier Conference) won by nine, they had a comfortable lead for most of the second half and never really seemed in jeopardy.
Perhaps that was because Nobbe kept his players fresh by rotating almost everyone on the bench into the game at key moments. Hauser seniors Trey Shipley and Ryan Christy spent more time than usual sitting alongside Nobbe.
“I’m OK with that,” said Shipley, who scored nine points and looked at times like he could take over the game if he so desired. “I want to get our other teammates involved, get them going.”
Nobbe had his team going into the first quarter when the Jets established a 19-10 lead. Seven different Hauser players scored in the opening quarter. Eleven different players scored in the game, and the balanced offensive effort was led by Mason Ramsey and Zach Gearhart, who both scored 13 points.
While Nobbe was pleased with his third quarter defense, his first quarter defense wasn’t bad, either. Waldron came out and grabbed a 6-0 lead when senior Kyle Garner buried two 3-pointers.
But the Mohawks didn’t manage another field goal in the quarter until Garner hit with five seconds remaining in the first. Waldron’s other two points came on free throws.
“When we learn to buy into that mental focus for four quarters, you’re going to see a strong ball club. We’re getting better, and I feel like we are starting to build some momentum.”
Due to a pressing defense that never gave an inch, Waldron’s offense never could gain any momentum. The Mohawks cut the Jets’ lead to four in the second quarter, but Shipley and Aaron Branum both had steals and layups just before intermission to build the lead back to 33-25.
Waldron tried to work itself back into the game in the third, but Hauser always had an answer. Ramsey dropped a pair of 3-pointers at the end of the quarter and the Jets took a 53-38 lead into the final quarter.
Hauser players spent most of their time at the line in the final quarter, going 12 for 20.
Throughout the game, Hauser played aggressively on offense, working the ball into paint on most possessions. The Jets were almost too aggressive at times, and they finished with 20 turnovers.
“That’s one area that needs to improve,” Nobbe said. “That’s certainly a part of the game we need to do better. I don’t want our players to stop focusing on that aspect.”
Shipley said his team’s aggressiveness working the ball inside led to some open 3-pointers and jumpers.
“We wanted to get the bigs going,” Shipley said. “Then the other team starts doubling down and you can hit those outside shots.”