LOOGOOTEE — A year ago, Barr-Reeve and North Daviess' girls basketball teams played one of the best games in the Class A Sectional 63. Barr-Reeve squeaked out a close victory and tonight the two teams will rekindle the rivalry.
The Vikings (16-3) and Cougars (16-4) will do battle in the second game of the sectional at Jack Butcher Arena in Loogootee with a spot in the sectional championship on the line. The Buggy Bowl rematch will follow the first game of the night between Vincennes Rivet and Shoals at 6 p.m.
In last year's first round sectional at Kavanaugh Kourt, Sabra Smith and Meghan Knepp connected on 10 3-pointers and combined for 46 of the Cougars' 50 points, but it wasn't enough. The Vikings prevailed with a two-point victory, but lost to Rivet in the sectional championship. The loss has burned deep for Smith and Knepp since that February night, 12 months ago.
"We came up short last time and that left a taste in their mouth, that they have been working through the spring, summer and the whole season to get back to this point," said North Daviess coach Ron Knepp. "Now they are here and they want to use that experience and get rid of that feeling from last year."
North Daviess lost the Buggy Bowl matchup at the Cougar Den, 44-38 on Dec. 21. With the emotion surrounding the sectional rematch, North Daviess will be smart to not come out with too much emotion for the highly anticipated semifinal in the historic Loogootee gym, named for the winningest high school basketball coach in the state.
"The game can definitely be lost in the first quarter," Knepp said. "You can't let them run out to a 6-0, 8-0, or 10-0 quarter, you just can't do that. You have to be composed when you come out on the floor and you have to stay with them early and give yourself a chance in the fourth quarter — that's what we want to do. We want to stay within striking distance. We aren't the favorite here, we're the underdog. We are the team nobody expects to win. Nobody gives us a chance to win this game — we aren't in any percentages to be in the final game and have a chance to win the sectional."