ELNORA – Barr-Reeve hit an unexpected road bump on the way to a second consecutive Graber Post Buildings Classic title at the Cougar Den on Saturday.
But in the end, the Vikings “Bullocked” their way through adversity to come out on top.
Michah Bullock scored nine of this 12 points in the second half on the way to earning his second straight GPB Most Valuable Player award as Class A No. 1 Barr-Reeve overcame a six-point halftime deficit to defeat South Knox 53-40 in the championship game.
Defending champion Barr-Reeve (7-0) was the strong favorite to repeat as champions after handing Class 3A No. 5 Brownstown Central the Braves’ first loss of season in Friday’s semifinals. But someone forgot to tell South Knox (5-2) that the Spartans weren’t supposed to be able to compete with the Vikings as coach Mark Rohrer’s team led 25-19 at halftime.
Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes, whose squad easily beat South Knox twice last season, felt like his team didn’t give the much-improved Spartans they credit they deserved.
“To be quite honest, I just didn’t feel like, and it was a concern coming in, I don’t know if we gave them the respect we needed to give them after beating them twice like we did last year,” said Hughes. “I tried to warn them that they (South Knox) are much better, much improved.
“But give our guys credit. I’m really proud of them for taking a big dose of adversity and handling it, and coming out in the second half and tightening it up a little bit,” said Hughes. “I thought our second half obviously was good. We didn’t do a whole right in the first half and they did a lot right.”
Barr-Reeve took control of the game in the third quarter. A Bullock 3-pointer brought B-R to within a point at 29-28 with 4:43 left in the period, and the Vikings took their first lead of the contest less than a minute later on a basket by Logan James. Though a pair of free throws by the Spartans’ Nick Burke returned the lead to South Knox seconds later, Barr-Reeve’s Duncan Roy dialed long distance on the Vikings next possession to give B-R a 33-31 lead, and Barr-Reeve would not trail again in the contest.