By Dennis Glade Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — The historic Loogootee boys basketball team isn’t having the kind of year its used to, but the Lions can still turn in nights like these.
Loogootee (6-12, 3-3 Blue Chip) defeated Washington Catholic (4-11, 1-7) 62-49 behind a dominant offensive attack, Tuesday night at the Bird Cage to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Lions jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead to force an early timeout from Washington Catholic coach John Howell with 5:02 to play in the opening quarter. The Cardinals bouned back with back-back baskets from Ethan Wichman and Jon Mitchell to cut the deficit to 8-6. Loogootee answered in a big way with an 8-0 run to end the quarter with a 10-point lead. Ryan Howell led all scorers with six points in the first quarter on two 3-pointers.
“In the first quarter we came out very soft in my opinion,” John Howell said. “We came out and had opportunities at the basket, but we went in soft. They threw defense’s that we saw all year, but for some reason we wanted to turn it over. We had 10 turnovers in the first half and no matter who you’re playing, you’re not going to be able to compete.”
To open the second quarter, the Lions scored seven straight points as Jayce Waggoner converted to jumpers and Howell hit his third 3-pointer of the half to push the lead to 23-6 and force another Washington Catholic timeout. Out of the timeout, Gabe Nolley and Josh Sibrel scored buckets on back-to-back possessions to push the lead to 27-6 — the largest lead of the first half. The Cardinals rallied by ending the half on a 9-2 run, but still trailed 29-15 at halftime. Howell led all scorers with nine points and Nolley added seven points for the Lions. Jon Mitchell led the Cardinals with six points and James Brown had four points.
“We had talked about trying to get out and dictate things and I think we did that early,” said Loogootee coach Mike Wagoner.
Out of halftime, Loogootee scored five of the first seven points of the third quarter to expand its leads to 37-19, but Washington Catholic was ready with an answer. Ethan Wichman hit a 3-pointer and Loogootee’s Dylan Street hit a pair of free throws, but the Cardinals answered with a 9-0 run to cut the Loogootee lead to 39-31.
Washington Catholic got five points from Sellars and two apiece from Brown and Taylor on the run. In the final 1:09, Nolley split a pair of free throws and knocked down a jumper to give the Lions a 42-31 lead heading into the fourth.
“Teams get complacement when you get big leads and you take chances on defense that you shouldn’t take,” Wagoner said. “We talked about that at halftime and about containing people and not letting them drive. We let a couple guys get loose on some drives and every time we would get the lead back to 15 they would knock down a three or somebody would get open. There are things we can work on and things we can learn from this.”
In the fourth, the Lions were able to push the lead to 51-36 midway through the quarter. The Cardinals came on strong and cut the lead 51-41, but they couldn’t get any closer as they lost 62-49 in a game that had been much more lopsided in years past.
Howell led Loogootee with 15 points, Nolley had 12, Sibrel added 11, Street had nine and Jayce Wagoner had six points. For Washington Catholic, Wichman had 14 points, Taylor added 10, Brown had nine, Mitchell had eight, Sellers added six and Thomas Bradley had two points.
“The second half was a really nice half with the ball, but in the first half we just had too many unforced turnovers,” Howell said.