ELNORA - After claiming six straight Buggy Bowl match ups from the 2006-07 to the 2011-12 seasons, Barr-Reeve may have been surprised last year when North Daviess turned the tables with a 39-29 win at Kavanaugh Kourt. That surprise quickly wore off as the Lady Cougars showed they were capable of winning big games all season long on their way to a 16 win campaign. The Vikings avenged the early season defeat with a 52-50 victory in the Sectional, a game in which both teams combined for almost 20 three-point baskets.
On Saturday night at the Cougar Den, Barr-Reeve (6-1) downed North Daviess (7-1) to reclaim the Buggy Bowl trophy by a 44-38 count, but also showed area fans how exciting a potential second matchup could be.
Early in the contest it looked like the Lady Vikings might run the Cougars off of their home floor. Junior guard Olivia Carroll knocked in two triples and surrounded that by two layups for 10 first quarter points, and the Vikings quickly led 15-7.
The second quarter saw the Vikings extend their lead to 10 points on multiple occasions, but they could stretch it no further. Sabra Smith kept the Lady Cougars within striking distance with six points during the quarter, and a late free throw kept North Daviess within nine at 26-17 heading to the locker room at halftime.
Barr-Reeve finally made their move to put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Junior forward Tiara Kenney battled in the post, and ended up a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe, and Hannah Bullock canned a long three to give the Lady Vikings a 35-23 advantage.
Coach Mark Holt made a strategic decision at the outset of the fourth quarter. Leading by a dozen and with possession of the basketball, Holt for the first time this season employed a delay offense in which his Vikings burned minutes off the clock at a time. Barr-Reeve was content to make multiple trips to the free throw line as the Cougars were forced to foul, and ended up shooting a sparkling 16-18 on the evening.
Meghan Knepp and Sabra Smith each knocked in late threes to keep the Cougars within striking distance, but North Daviess could get no closer than the final 44-38 margin.
Holt said the decision to go to the delay was a strategic one.
“There are certain teams we have scouted that we might have some good matchups to do that. Our bigs (Tiara Kenney and Tracy Graber) not only can go out and handle the ball, but can also step up and make free throws.”
Tracy Graber led a balanced Vikings attack with 11 points. She was followed by Olivia Carroll with 10, Jenna Knepp with nine, Kenney with eight, and Bullock with six. The Cougars were led by Smith with 16. Meghan Knepp followed with 11, and Abby Cecil had five.
Barr-Reeve returns to action Friday with a home game against Loogootee at 11a.m. North Daviess hosts Eminence this Saturday beginning at noon.