GREENSBURG — After one half of play on Tuesday night at South Decatur High School, Hauser could taste its second win of the season, as it led Jac-Cen-Del in Round 1 of the Class A sectional.
However, the Jets were hit hard with the Eagles’ zone defense in the second half, and Hauser suffered a 65-54 loss to Jac-Cen-Del.
Although the season came up short of his expectations, lone Hauser senior Nick Johnson described it as simply “a blessing.”
“This team has been so amazing, it has been an absolute blessing for me this year,” Johnson said. “For anyone who understands Hauser basketball, it is the greatest thing in the world. To have the support of the fans and the whole town behind me has been truly amazing.”
Johnson had six points for the Jets (1-20).
It was a fast-paced first half between two small teams, with the Jets and the Eagles (6-15) both utilizing their perimeter game.
Hauser junior Trey Shipley knocked down three 3-point goals in the first quarter alone, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the first half.
Jac-Cen-Del answered with three of its own, and the Jets led the Eagles 34-33 at the half.
“We took really good care of the ball in the first half, we did a lot of things we needed to do,” Hauser coach Bob Nobbe said. “I thought we executed, rebounded well and moved the ball effectively.”
However, Jac-Cen-Del switched to a 1-2-2 zone in the second half, slowing the game down immensely and creating difficulty for Hauser on the offensive end.
“We were not effective or efficient against that defense,” Nobbe said. “We struggled to get a good shot, and we did not create the opportunities that we needed to create.”
The Jets were down 46-43 going into the fourth quarter, and that is when the scoring drought hit. Jac-Cen-Del went on a 10-2 run, and Hauser found itself down 56-42 with five minutes left in the game.
The Jets would not recover.
“We were not completely prepared for the zone, and it threw us off guard,” Johnson said. “They hit more buckets in the end and we lost focus.”
Although Hauser continued to challenge down the stretch, Jac-Cen-Del kept focused, shooting 74 percent from the free-throw line to keep its lead.
“We panicked a little bit in the fourth quarter, had some unforced turnovers, and we could not come back from that,” Nobbe said.
Mason Ramsey had 10 points for the Jets, followed by Aaron Branum and Dalton McKinney each with six.
Cord Comer led Jac-Cen-Del with a game-high 17 points, followed by Trent Smith with 14.
Hauser is losing only one senior (Johnson), and Nobbe is optimistic about next season.
“We are so proud of Nick (Johnson) and the way he responded to some adversity this season,” Nobbe said. “This is tough for him, but we will learn from this experience and grow and mature and come back stronger next season.”