MONTGOMERY — It wasn't pretty, but it was just good enough for the top ranked team in Indiana's Class A to stay undefeated.
Class A No. 1 Barr-Reeve (8-0) defeated Orleans (5-3) 50-40 in game that took more than a half to reach the pace many expected at the outset. The Vikings were led by junior Addison Wagler who scored a game-high 17 points.
After playing to a surprising 16-all tie at halftime, the Bulldogs came out stronger in the second half to take a 24-20 with just under five minutes to play in the third quarter. Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes took a timeout to get his team refocused and whatever he said in the huddle got the Vikings going. Over the last 4:51 of the quarter, Barr-Reeve outscored Orleans 10-0, as the Vikings got a basket each from Wagler, Micah Bullock, Chris Wittmer and Logan Lengacher, along with two free throws from Duncan Roy to take a 30-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
Two Bullock 3-pointers helped Barr-Reeve build a 38-26 lead with 5:41 to play in regulation, effectively ending the Bulldogs' upset bid.
"It was a struggle all night on the offensive end and give Orleans some credit," said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. "This team was 5-2 and I know they didn't play very well up at the Graber Post Buildings Classic, but they came in here with a plan and I thought they executed it well. They were patient, they hit some timely shots and we'll take the win and go on."
Wagler led the Vikings with 17 points, Duncan Roy had 13, Bullock added 10, Chris Wittmer had five points, Logan Lengacher added four points off the bench and Logan James scored three points. Cale Hall led Orleans with 16 points and Steven Phillips added 10 points.
Despite the lack of flow on offense for the most of the game, Hughes said he had zero concern about how his team will respond going forward.
"I thought we had some players who didn't play up to what they had done all year at either end of the court," Hughes said. "You have games where you think you have an advantage on the inside and then that's everybody's goal to get the ball inside and other guys forget about making plays. I told them in the locker room, I guess people are upset that you don't win by 30 every game."
The Vikings played like they were running through mud as they couldn't find any rhythm offensively. In the first quarter, Barr-Reeve managed just nine points — seven of which of came from junior Addison Wagler. Wagler kept the Vikings in the game early on from the free throw line, where he hit all five attempts in the opening quarter. Orleans struggled to find itself as well as the Bulldogs hit just two shots in the first quarter, and the Vikings led 9-7.
In the second quarter, both teams went nearly four minutes without scoring a point. An Orleans transition layup from Murphy Wheeler tied the game at nine with 4:08 to play in the first half and Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes called a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Vikings got a 3-pointer from Duncan Roy, two more free throws from Wagler and a layup from senior Micah Bullock to take a 16-11 lead with 1:50 to play in the quarter.
"At halftime I told them, we're fine holding them to 16 points," Hughes said. "Chris Wittmer did a nice job defensively on Cale Hall. There wasn't any flow to us offensively, we had a hard to getting any type of rhythm."
Orleans fought back with five straight points to end the half, including junior Kamen Ray's 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 16 going into halftime. Wagler led all scorers in the first half with 11 points, while Cale Hall led Orleans with six points.
Barr-Reeve travels to Northeast Dubois Saturday in its final tuneup before playing Elizabethtown (Ky.) at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. Jan. 11 as part of the Kentucky v. Indiana Challenge Cup.