MONTGOMERY — While more inclement weather forced changes to the Loogootee Girls Sectional lineup on Saturday, Barr-Reeve (17-1) and Forest Park (9-9) were able to play their regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon matinee contest. While the Vikings flashed moments of brilliance on their way to a 62-41 victory, the visiting Rangers also showed they will be perfectly capable of providing headaches for any opponent in the upcoming 2A tournament.
Barr-Reeve continued its recent string of strong defensive play to jump out to a commanding lead. The Vikings used full-court pressure, and mixed in sticky and aggressive man-to-man defense to open a quick 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter.
Viking Junior Addison Wagler continued his recent stretch of dominant play in the contest. After missing his first two free throw attempts, Wagler worked through the aggressive Ranger defense for several post baskets in the opening half. Wagler finished with a game high 24 points, and with just over two minutes left in the opening half, Barr-Reeve was halfway to a rout and held a 33-11 lead.
From that point forward, Forest Park coach Jeff Litherland called a timeout, and his Rangers responded. This visitors from Ferdinand subsequently drilled three straight treys, and closed the half on a 9-0 run to cut the margin to 33-20 at the break.
The Rangers continued their run early in the third quarter, and eventually closed the deficit to seven at 35-28. From that point forward, the Vikings re-established their defensive dominance and opened the fourth quarter with a flourish.
Micah Bullock knocked in a quick triple, and Chris Wittmer intercepted a pass and coverted a layup to move the Viking lead back to 12. The Vikings continued to feed Wagler in the post, and the big junior converted a variety of power moves, spins, and floaters as the Vikings moved the margin to 18 at 58-40.
Both coaches were content to empty their benches in the game’s closing minutes after the Vikings had moved the lead to 21 at 61-40. Besides Wagler’s 24-point effort, Bullock followed with 16 on the afternoon.
Although the Vikings witnessed a 20-point lead evaporate to single digits, Bryan Hughes saw positives in how his team responded.
“It didn’t hurt us a bit to be in a position where we had to respond and make plays. We know that is something we will have to do going forward,” Hughes said.
Barr-Reeve returns to action with another Friday night home contest against Vincennes Rivet. A victory over the Patriots will give the Vikings the outright Blue Chip Conference championship. Junior Varsity action tips off at Kavanaugh Kourt at 6 p.m.