Conner Wittmer may appear to be an inside player for Class A No. 4 Loogootee, but after Friday¹s home game against White River Valley, the Wolverines may find that hard to believe.
Wittmer scored 24 first-half points on his way to a game-high 29, as the Lions defeated White River Valley 62-48 at Jack Butcher Arena.
Wittmer scorched White River Valley with 12 points in the opening quarter as Loogootee took a 17-11 lead.
The Loogootee senior, who is the 10th leading scorer in Loogootee history, added another 12 in the second as the Lions led 36-22.
And while the 24 points were plenty for the Lions (14-2), it fell short of the school record for points in a half.
That mark is held by Nick Toy, who scored 31 against Linton in the 1995-96 season. Toy also ended that game with the Loogootee record for one game with 47.
Still, the performance was memorable for Loogootee coach Mike Wagoner.
"You get a guy who is hot, and you have to keep going to him and hope he stays hot," Loogootee coach Mike Wagoner said." The Wolverines (8-6) were able to cut the lead to 10 points early in the third quarter, but Matt Mathias pushed the lead back to 16 at 46-30 with a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in the period.
White River Valley again tried to narrow the gap in the final quarter, and was able to get within eight points at 50-42 and 51-43.
Wolverine Cade Hill, who led White River Valley with 22 points, was able to draw the Wolverines within seven at 53-46, but Darian Stewart made four consecutive free throws, the last coming at 1:16 to give Loogootee a 57-46.
Will Nonte then added two more free throws, and the Lions were basically home with a 59-46 lead.
"I thought we did a good job of hitting our free throws late," Wagoner said. "White River Valley is an aggressive team, and I like the way they play hard and smart. I like the way our guys responded. I thought we took care of the basketball for the most part. It was a good win against a quality opponent." Mathias ended with nine points for Loogootee.
The Lions will be honored at the state house in Indianapolis Tuesday by State Representative Mark Messmer for their championship season last winter.