HOPE — The grin on Rory Thayer’s face spoke volumes.
Thayer’s smile was ear-to-ear as he discussed Hauser’s first win of the season, an 82-77 Saturday afternoon victory over visiting Jac-Cen-Del.
“This feels great,” the 5-foot-9 sophomore said. “We came out today with more focus and played our best four quarters of the year. I hope this feeling can come more often now.”
The Jets’ success came after 17 losses. The Eagles (4-13) led most of the way and did not surrender the lead for good until Jet freshman Quindon Shipley scored on breakaway layup with 1:40 remaining in the game.
“I feel very excited for these kids,” Hauser coach Bob Nobbe said. “They’ve come in this gym every Monday and started a week of hard work. It’s been great to see the chemistry develop on this team. They deserve this one today.”
Hauser’s success did not come easily. Several Jets played key roles.
“Everyone we put out there today made a contribution,” Nobbe said.
After Jac-Cen-Del pulled to within one point (78-77) on two free throws by Austin Harmeyer with nine seconds remaining, the Jets had a difficult time inbounding the ball. A wild heave came down near midcourt. Somehow, Hauser junior Trey Shipley won the ensuing scrum and was fouled with six seconds left. His two makes from the foul line gave the Jets a three-point lead.
Mason Ramsey then deflected the Eagles’ attempt to inbound the ball. Ryan Christy retrieved the loose ball and got fouled. The 6-3 junior, whose contributions were limited due to personal foul problems, sank both free throws to settle the final score.
“Trey made a great play to come up with that loose ball,” said Nobbe, now in his 17th year at Hauser. “He leads by example. On that play, he was very determined. That was a very big possession.”
Trey Shipley led Hauser with 19 points. The Jets, who outscored their Ripley County visitors by five field goals, received significant offensive outputs from Thayer and senior Nick Johnson who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Johnson, who regained his academic eligibility with the conclusion of the first semester, was playing only for fourth time this season. The presence of the 6-8 lefty was huge according to his coach.
“Nick has responded very well to the challenge,” Nobbe said.
And whatever credit he may have deserved, Johnson was quick to give it to right back to his teammates.
“Give it all to my teammates. They’ve been gracious enough to accept me back,” Johnson said. “I’ve been around the block a couple of times. I hoped to be ready to play and show leadership.”
The Eagles, who lost for the ninth time in their past 10 games, entered with a paltry offensive average of 45 points per game. Jac-Cen-Del had surpassed the 50 mark only four times. With hot shooting (23-of-46) from the field and from the foul line (27-of-35), coach David Bradshaw’s team was led by the 28-point performance of junior Adam Siebert.
Despite the Eagles’ offensive explosion, Hauser never trailed by more than six points.
“The difference today was that we found ways to make enough plays to stay in the game,” Nobbe said.