LOOGOOTEE — What a difference a year makes.
At this time last year, Barr-Reeve had suffered a disappointing one-point loss to eventual state champion Borden, 43-42 in the regional championship.
This year, however, was a different story and it started with the youngest starter on the Barr-Reeve roster — Logan James. James scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Vikings (25-1) to their first regional championship in four years in the 69-60 win over Northeast Dubois (12-13) Saturday night at Loogootee.
"I was trying to get my team past this hump that we didn't get past last year," James said.
In front of a capacity crowd at the famed Jack Butcher Arena, Barr-Reeve came out on fire, led by its point guard. The Vikings outscored the Jeeps 15-8 after an early 4-4 tie to take a 19-12 lead at the end of the first. Sophomore Logan James led the charge with nine points in the opening quarter to lead Barr-Reeve. Northeast Dubois did what it could to keep pace, as Jacob Gress scored 10 points.
"They're a very difficult team to play, because they're so big and physical," said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes.
The Vikings continued to push the tempo offensively and the Jeeps had no answer. Barr-Reeve pushed the lead to 28-16, its biggest lead of the first half, but a late charge by Northeast Dubois cut the lead to 30-24 with two minutes to play in the half. An Addison Wagler lay in, followed by James' second 3-pointer of the half gave Barr-Reeve a 35-24 halftime lead. The Jeeps trailed by 11 at the half, but they were giving Barr-Reeve everything it could handle, something they couldn't do in the first meeting — a 64-45 Barr-Reeve victory on Jan. 4.
"They were not healthy when we played them the first time and that's a known fact," Hughes said. "They were struggling with some health issues, and once they got healthy they went on a roll and played good basketball. I knew that was going to be a war."