The Indiana boys basketball state tournament got underway Tuesday night as the most exciting month in high school began. As the old saying goes, “In 49 other states, it’s just basketball, but this is Indiana.” With that in mind, the IHSAA needs to take a long look at seeding the state tournament.
Midway through the first game of the Class A Sectional 63 at North Daviess, I was reminded again why the state tournament is an entirely new season. North Daviess, was completely dominated by No. 1 Barr-Reeve in a 15-point loss Jan. 25, was planting the seeds for a potential monumental upset. The Cougars led by one after the first quarter and trailed by just four points at halftime, 24-20
You could feel the tension in the Cougar Den at halftime. Could Barr-Reeve actually lose in the first game of what was expected to be a deep post-season run that could end with the Vikings’ first state championship for veteran coach Bryan Hughes. North Daviess tied the game at 27 and then at 32 and Barr-Reeve had a real test on its hands. The Vikings responded the way a champion is supposed to and that was that. The Vikings outscored the Cougars 23-10 the rest of the way for a 13-point victory in the opener.
It was a great first game test for Hughes’ team, but you couldn’t help but think that neither of Barr-Reeve’s next two games would be even close to a 13-point margin. Tonight Barr-Reeve plays Shoals. The Jug Rox have lost 16 of 18 games this season and in the championship game, the Vikings will play either Vincennes Rivet (10-12) or Washington Catholic (4-15). Barr-Reeve enjoyed victories of both Washington Catholic (67-18) and Rivet (67-45) this season. No offense to either program, but we deserve better for what has been called the best sectional in the entire state of Indiana.