LOOGOOTEE — In recent memory, there haven't been many games like this in the Barr-Reeve and Loogootee rivalry. Saturday night's game between the Class A No. 1 Vikings and the struggling Lions — the 2012 Class A state champion had no resemblance to the close battles the teams have shared over the years.
Barr-Reeve (10-1) never trailed in the 55-31 blowout of its biggest rival Saturday night at Jack Butcher Arena. The 23-point win was the largest margin of victory in the series since Barr-Reeve beat Loogootee 63-44 in 2009 at Kavanaugh Kourt.
After the pre-game ceremony honoring the 22 scorers to reach 1,000 career points at Loogootee and St. John, which included Hall of Fame coach Jack Butcher, the filled to capacity arena was ready to burst with excitement. The result of the first quarter completely zapped any enthusiasm for the Loogootee side. Every Barr-Reeve starter scored in the first quarter and when it was over the Vikings led 14-0. Loogootee couldn't buy a basket from inside or outside as Lions' coach Mike Wagoner almost couldn't believe what he was watching.
"That was the first time we had been shut out in a quarter all year," Wagoner said. "One thing that bothered me was we acted like we were lost for a few minutes. We talked all week in practice about getting off to a good start and not letting them get off to a hot start."
Barr-Reeve junior Chris Wittmer's three-point play to start the second quarter stretched the lead to 17-0, but Loogootee's Hayden Bell's basket stopped the run with 7:22 to play before halftime. Bell scored seven of his game-high 19 points as he tried to keep the Lions in the game.
A Connor Schwartzentruber 3-pointer put Barr-Reeve up 24-5 midway through the second, but seven straight points cut the deficit to 24-12 with two minutes to play in the half. After a Barr-Reeve miss, the Lions had a chance to cut the deficit to single digits before halftime, but a Josh Sibrel miss was followed up by five straight points by Connor Schwartzentruber to extend the lead to 29-12 at halftime.