WTH Staff Reports
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — LOOGOOTEE — In a season where anything that could possibly go wrong for coach Mike Wagoner’s Loogootee Lions at times has, his squad gave local fans a reason to believe they will be competitive for the rest of the season on Friday night at Jack Butcher Sports Arena, but also showed some of the bad luck that the Lions have been dealt this season.
Although Wood Memorial entered with just a 2-6 mark on the season, several of those losses were too much bigger schools including Castle, Gibson Southern, and Princeton (twice).
Using the patented Loogootee ball-control offense, and limiting turnovers, the Lions led 9-7 after one quarter behind a timely bucket from Gabe Nolley. The second quarter saw the Trojans apply various pressure defenses, but to no avail, and Loogootee grabbed their biggest lead of the half at 20-13 on a triple from junior guard Ryan Howell. Wood Memorial trimmed the deficit to 20-16 at halftime behind a late basket and free throw by Connor Sevier.
Wood Memorial began to take control of the game early in the third quarter. Two three point baskets Jared Cox, two post baskets from Sevier, surrounded by a steal and layup by Jacob Jarboe allowed the Trojans to win the quarter 14-5, and give Wood Memorial a 30-25 advantage.
Any thoughts that the Trojans were going to run away and hide were quickly dashed early in the fourth period. Another trey from Howell, and a short jumper from Hayden Bell tied the game at 30-30 just over a minute into the final stanza.
From that point forward, to say offense would be hard to come by would be a massive understatement. Neither team would score for over six minutes, and when Loogootee regained possession of the ball from over three minutes left in the game, the Lions looked content to take the game’s final shot.
With under a minute to play, and Loogootee scrambling on offense due to the trapping Trojan defense, a loose ball foul was called on Wood Memorial and sent Lion junior Dylan Street to the foul line to shoot one and the bonus. Street calmly drained the first, but the second rattled out, and gave the visitors the final possession.
A Loogootee foul gave Wood Memorial possession on the sideline in front of the Trojan bench with 3.6 seconds left. A designed play for freshman Tyler Fleisher resulted in an open jumper, but was missed badly. A favorable bounce off the backboard landed in the hands of senior point guard Sam Trader, who tipped the miss in just ahead of the final horn for the 32-31 victory.
Loogootee fell to 3-7 with the loss, and were led on the offensive end by Hayden Bell with 11 points. Ryan Howell followed with nine, and Gabe Nolley and Dylan Street chipped in six and five respectively.