By Dennis Glade Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — ELNORA — Barr-Reeve had a target on its back all season and with the postseason starting, that target got even bigger Tuesday night.
The Class A No. 1 Vikings (21-1) survived an upset scare against North Daviess (11-11) to win 55-42 in the first round of Sectional 63 at the Cougar Den behind 14 points from Micah Bullock, 13 from Addison Wagler and 10 from Chris Wittmer.
From the opening moments of the second quarter, the Vikings didn’t trail, but midway through the third quarter, North Daviess was giving the top-ranked Vikings all they could handle. Senior Dusten Cook tied the game at 27 with a 3-pointer at the 5:55 mark and Alex Wittmer tied the game again at 32, 90 seconds later with a trey of his own. In the postseason opener, Barr-Reeve was being pushed in every facet of the game.
The Vikings predictably responded with a dominant stretch of play. Over the final 12-plus minutes, Barr-Reeve outscored North Daviess 23-10 and showed why it had been the wire to wire No. 1 ranked team in Class A.
The game was far different to start from the Buggy Bowl game on Jan. 25 in Montgomery that the Vikings controlled from the outset and led by more than 20, before winning 58-43.
“I figured it was not going to be a situation like in the regular season where we jumped out to a comfortable lead,” said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. We were on their floor and those kids have a lot of pride.They gave us a great shot and give our kids a lot of credit for standing toe-to-toe and getting the job done in the second half. The only thing that matters is you get to play again and move on.”
Playing behind a raucous crowd, the Cougars got off to a quick 5-0 start and the Vikings didn’t score for the first 4:30 of the game. The Cougars missed out on two opportunities to make the lead larger, but Barr-Reeve found its rhythm thanks to five first quarter points from junior guard Chris Wittmer, but North Daviess led 10-9 after one quarter thanks to a 3-pointer a piece from Kelby Byrer and Dusten Cook. Brady Helms and Zach Moore also added a basket each for North Daviess.
“From an energy standpoint, I’m not sure we were matching their energy to start the game and that concerned me,” said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. “I didn’t think we rebounded as well as we had all year.”
In the second quarter, Barr-Reeve opened with back-to-back baskets from seniors’ Logan Lengacher and Bullock to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Despite holding the lead the rest of the second quarter, the Cougars never backed down and Alex Wittmer’s acrobatic layup to beat the second quarter buzzer cut the Barr-Reeve lead to just four points, 24-20.
Barr-Reeve had a balanced scoring attack with double figure points from Bullock, Wagler and Chris Wittmer. Logan James added nine points, Duncan Roy had seven and Lengacher had two points.
North Daviess was led by Dusten Cook with 13 points, Alex Wittmer and Kelby Byrer had nine points each, Helms added six, Moore and Austin Buehler had two points each.
The loss ended a disappointing season for the Cougars, but coach Brent Dalrymple said he was very proud of how his kids battled against a team that had beaten them handily in the regular season.
“We have no regrets, we played as hard as we possibly could,” said North Daviess coach Brent Dalrymple. “We played the No. 1 team in the state, they’re very deserving of being the No. 1 team in the state. We knew it was an uphill battle from the get go and all I wanted from our kids was absolute effort to not go out and be scared, but to go after people.”
Barr-Reeve will play Shoals in the first semifinal at North Daviess Friday night starting at 6 p.m.