By Dennis Glade Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve boys basketball team have been the top team in Class A this season, but Saturday it will face the toughest test of the season.
The Class A No. 1 Vikings (9-0) travel to Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. to take on Elizabethtown (Ky.) as part of the Indiana v. Kentucky Challenge Cup Saturday afternoon.
Through the first nine games of the season, Barr-Reeve has outscored its opponents by an average score of 58-40. The Vikings have had only one game decided by five points or less, and that was a 50-48 win over Class 3A No. 6 Brownstown Central (6-1) Dec. 27 in Elnora at the Graber Post Buildings Classic.
“We like where we’re at,” said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. “We have played all year with a target on our back and we’ve gotten a lot of teams best efforts — I like the make up of our team, we have great depth. We are just looking forward to Saturday and playing a really good Elizabethtown team.”
The Vikings returned three off their five starters from last season in senior Micah Bullock, junior Addison Wagler and sophomore Logan James. Guard Chris Wittmer and transfer forward Duncan Roy have joined the starting lineup to Barr-Reeve a formidable five-man lineup. This season Bullock has taken center stage as possibly the best player in the area in his senior season.
The lefty has used his athleticism and quickness to stupify defenses all season. Bullock’s 34 points in Barr-Reeve’s 64-45 win at Northeast Dubois was an example of the step forward he has taken this season. While Bullock’s success early on this season may have taken some in Southwestern Indiana by surprise, Hughes wasn’t one of them.
“Micah has developed into a really good player,” Hughes said. “I look back to when he was a junior high kid and he was small and thin and weak and he’s always had some skill, but now his body has caught up with him. He’s got length, athleticism and he shoots the ball very well, which makes him a very good offensive player. What he’s doing is not really surprising, because I’ve seen him play for so long.”
Saturday will be a real test for Barr-Reeve, who have no experience against Elizabethtown, the No. 17 ranked team in Kentucky, which still uses a one-class ranking system. Elizabethtown enters play Saturday with a 7-4 record.
“I’ve had an opportunity to see them twice in person,” Hughes said. “They are definitely the best team we have played up to this point and maybe the whole year. They have a 6’6 post player named Dominique Harding, who as a I look at things could possibly give us some problems, it would possibly be him. He runs the floor really well and he’s just a very good player in the post for them. Other than that we really matchup size wise with them, but they are very quick and try to get the ball down the floor quickly. The big thing for us is going to be our transition defense and being able to get back, get the ball stopped and make them run some offense, instead of just going to the rim.”
While the unfamiliarity related with this matchup for Barr-Reeve is a major test, Hughes said this game provides an excellent opportunity to see where his team is at nine games into the season. As is the case with many programs in Southwestern Indiana, the Vikings have high hopes for the postseason and Saturday can be viewed as a measuring stick against top flight competition.
“It’s kind of a tournament atmosphere,” Hughes said. “You get to play in a historic arena and there are other really good players and teams playing that day and we just feel honored to be able to travel to Louisville and represent the state of Indiana and play in the Challenge Cup.”
Hughes said the opportunity to represent this part of the state as a school from Class A has special meaning for the school in such an important set of games against against Indiana’s neighbors to the south — Kentucky.
“Both states are wanting to win and the coaches association for Indiana and Kentucky obviously aren’t doing this as something to pass the time. The format is whichever state wins at least three games out of the five wins the traveling Challenge Cup. We are going to take it seriously, and it’s going to be a great day for high school basketball.”
Directions to Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky. Take I-64 East toward Louisville, as soon as you cross the bridge into Kentucky you need to take Exit 1 onto 264-East and from there look for Airport Expo Main Gate Exit. Saturday Game Schedule Games beginning at 11 A.M. EST (25 minutes between games) Game 1: Elizabethtown vs Indianapolis Roncalli (Girls) Game 2: Elizabethtown vs Barr-Reeve Game 3:Covington Catholic vs Corydon Central Game 4: Hopkinsville vs Indianapolis Park Tudor Game 5:Louisville Ballard vs Guerin Catholic