By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
It's that time of year again.
Barr-Reeve and Loogootee rekindles one the most intense boys basketball rivalries in Southwestern Indiana Saturday when the Lions visit Kavanaugh Kourt.
The Class A No. 2 Vikings (12-0, 4-0 Blue Chip) enter the most recent chapter of this historic rivalry with an unblemished record. Barr-Reeve has only had two games this year that were decided by five points or less, and those were in back-to-back games during the final two days of the Graber Post Classic last month.
"Sitting undefeated, I'm not sure we envisioned being there at this point," said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. "It really doesn't make a difference what our record is, and what Loogootee's record is, because any time we match up, it¹s a neighbor, and it's a two good small school programs that are going to go at each other." The Class A No. 6 Lions (10-2, 4-0) enter the game looking to rebound after a 46-40 loss at the hands of Class A No. 4 North Daviess at the Cougar Den last Friday.
With the atmosphere sure to be raucous, Loogootee coach Mike Wagoner said he isn't concerned about the crowd noise taking his team out its game as they had plenty of experience with that last spring on their way to the school¹s first state championship.
"Nervousness shouldn¹t be a factor," Wagoner said. "One of the things we guard against is just getting too hyped up. For us it's the next game on our schedule, and we always say our toughest game is our next game, no matter who it is. We prepare for each team the way we're supposed to, by scouting reports, and think OK, this is what we have to do offensively and defensively." Wagoner said to be successful Saturday, his team won¹t specifically have to hone in on one specific aspect of Barr-Reeve¹s game plan, but focus more on the man in front of them.
"A team like Barr-Reeve, they are very set oriented," Wagoner said. "Coach Hughes does a great job of running sets, and getting people in places where they¹re supposed to, and hit shots. One of the things that we have to do defensively is not let them do that, and take them out of their sets. You don¹t really do anything special, you just have to guard them. They're very athletic, from the No. 1 to the No. 9 player, they can all score. About six of them have the ability to step out and hit the three. It's going to be one of those games that whoever plays the better defense, whoever cuts down on turnovers, is probably going to come out on top. The last four or five years these games have come down to the wire." Barr-Reeve won the regular season matchup at Jack Butcher Arena last year, 50-47, but the Vikings fell to Loogootee, 53-36, in the sectional championship.
Hughes said it's important for his team to stick to the things that has made them successful up to this point, and to get their emotions in check after the first few minutes. In addition, Hughes thinks rebounding will play a major role in the outcome of the game.
"We've got to rebound the basketball," Hughes said. "I think that's a big key that I always look at, but in big games with neighbors like Loogootee, we have to come to play on the glass. At the end of the night, whoever leads in that statistic, you may see the team that wins the game. That's just how important I think it is."