By Mike Myers
Washington Times Herald
Third-ranked Barr-Reeve avoided the upset bug that very nearly bit defending state champion Loogootee earlier in the evening as the Vikings easily dispatched Washington Catholic 77-37 in Tuesday's second game of the opening night of Sectional 63 action at Jack Butcher Arena.
Barr-Reeve (21-1) saw Washington Catholic (2-21) open the contest trying to hold the ball, but a 9-2 Viking start helped push Barr-Reeve to a 16-2 advantage after the first quarter of action.
Barr-Reeve center Addison Wagler scored six points in the opening quarter, then added eight more in the second stanza.
Brandon Wagler hit a trio of 3-pointers for B-R in the second period after hitting a trey in the first quarter, and the Vikings outscored WC 22-15 in the second quarter to hold a commanding 38-17 at halftime.
Washington Catholic was hampered by turnovers - 11 in the first half - and by Barr-Reeve's shooting as the Vikings hit on 15-28 attempts in the first half - including 5-9 from behind the arch.
Addison Wagler led all scorers with 18 points, mostly in the paint, while Brandon Wagler added 14 points.
"We establish early what kind of team we were. I thought the guys did that, I thought they were focused to play and played well," said Hughes. "We had that inside-outside game going in the first half, and we're deep. We played a lot of guys here tonight." The Vikings' early lead hampered WC's efforts to keep the game at a deliberate pace.
"We looked to slow it down, and we did our job, it was like 3-0 after three minutes had gone by," said Washington Catholic coach John Howell.
"Then they went to the 1-3-1, and we didn't handle the pressure. We started throwing the ball around the gym, got some turnovers here and there, and now all of the sudden, it's 11-2. It's hard to play that way (slow down) when you're down." Barr-Reeve was even hotter in the second half, hitting on 17-27 from the field. The Vikings led 61-27 after three quarters as Hughes sat his starters down with nearly 3:00 to play in the third quarter. While getting his starters out might help the Vikings have fresher legs as the tournament continues this week, Hughes was more concerned with avoiding a key injury in a game that was already decided.
Colton Reed topped WC with 13 points, followed by 12 from T.J. Hill. The Cardinals lose five seniors - Reed, Hill, Nick Boyd, Brendan Purdue, and Christian Neace - and though that group will be missed, Howell is excited about the future after the first season in his second stint at the Washington Catholic helm.
"As a coach I'm disappointed in the season, but I saw improvement in the kids, not just on the basketball court but attitude wise," said Howell. "I'm losing a good group of seniors, they played hard, but we have a bunch of young kids coming back. It's going to be a building process, we're gonna get back in the gym here soon, and not just with our high school kids but we want to get our feeder system going as well."