By Mike Myers
ELNORA - Barr-Reeve and North Daviess each presented themselves with early Christmas presents with wins on the opening night of the Graber Post Buildings Classic at the Cougar Den on Monday.
Barr-Reeve defeated Clay City 63-33 while North Daviess downed North Posey 71-66.
Class A No. 1 Barr-Reeve (5-0) dominated from the outset against Class A No. 10 Clay City (4-1). The Vikings used their swarming full court press to totally take the Eels out of their offense, forcing eight Clay City turnovers in the opening period, which saw Barr-Reeve leading 20-8. And things just got worse from that point on for Clay City in the first half.
Micha Bullock outscored the Eels on his own with 16 points in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers. But Bullock had plenty of help. Duncan Roy dialed long distance twice in scoring eight first half points, while Logan James added five points, including a trey. In all, B-R shot 15-25 in the first half, forced 10 Clay City turnovers, and limited the Eels to just 3-13 shooting from the field as the Vikings sailed into halftime with a 37-10 lead.
The second half was much of the same as Barr-Reeve remained in control and Viking coach Bryan Hughes was able to clear his bench in the fourth quarter. Bullock finished with 23 points to lead B-R, followed by 11 from Roy and 10 from James. Addison Wagler added seven points, followed by six from Logan Lengacher.
While Barr-Reeve was undefeated coming into the tourney, Hughes was looking for something more than he had witnessed to this point in the season, and he saw it on Monday.
“I’m very pleased. I thought our energy level was very good. I thought our last ballgame, even at Shoals when our starters played a quarter and a half, I just thought their energy level wasn’t good. I just didn’t think we had the edge the first three games,” said Hughes.
“But we’ve taken care of that practice, we’ve done well, tonight was just a great effort. That was a good basketball team that can shoot a lot of three’s. I just felt like if our guys came in and guarded them like our guys were capable of guarding them, we could give them a lot of trouble.
“Give our guys credit for listening to the game plan, and then coming out on the floor and executing it. I thought we did a great job at the defensive end,” said Hughes.”
In the final game of the evening, Class A No. 16 North Daviess (3-1) used a strong fourth quarter to defeat North Posey (1-5). Holding a slim 44-42 lead after three periods of action, North Daviess started strong in the fourth quarter, building as much as a nine-point lead before netting the five-point win.
The Cougars placed four players in double figures, and were led by 20 points from Dusten Cook. But the big points for ND came from Brady Helms, who scored eight of his 15 points early in the fourth quarter to help the Cougars take control of a contest which saw North Daviess face as much as an 11-point deficit in the first half before battling back to trail just 34-29 at the break.
Alex Wittmer added 15 markers for the Cougars, including 6-8 from the line in the fourth quarter as ND was looking to hold onto the lead. Overall, ND was 11-14 from the stripe in the final eight minutes of play, with Cook hitting a perfect 4-4. Kelby Byrer added 10 points for ND.
Cougar mentor Brent Dalrymple liked the balanced attack and the total team effort his squad put forth against the Vikings.
“In the locker room, we talked about the fact that it was a team win, that everybody that came in did a couple of things for us, a couple of big things,” said Dalrymple. “Brady Helms scored for us, and it was off of Kelby or Alex passing him the ball, and Brady going and finishing. Cook stepped up and made some free throws and played great defense. Jaylon Lengacher, our freshman, had a trial by fire with Zach (Moore) in foul trouble.
“It was a total team effort by all seven guys that stepped up and played, and that’s what we’ve got to be. We’re not a one man show,” said Dalrymple.
Michael Bender led North Posey with 21 points, including five three-pointers.
In other games on Monday, South Knox defeated Class A No. 8 Orleans 48-41 and Class 3A # 5 Brownstown Central downed Class 3A #18 Southridge 57-39. In games at North Daviess on Friday, Southridge (3-1) will square off against Clay City at 3 p.m. and Orleans will face North Posey. At 4:30 p.m., both in the consolation round. Barr-Reeve will face Brownstown Central (5-0) in one semifinal at 6 p.m., followed by a 7:30 p.m. semifinal between South Knox (4-1) and North Daviess.