North Knox seemed to have all the momentum, then Barr-Reeve flipped a switch, and ran away with an important Blue Chip conference victory.
The Lady Vikings (14-4, 6-2 Blue Chip) defeated the visiting Warriors 51-43 to move into third place in the Blue Chip Thursday evening on Senior Night at Kavanaugh Kourt.
With the Vikings trailing midway through the third quarter, sophomore forward Tiara Kenney stole the ball and headed towards the basket with a chance to cut the lead to just two points. Kenney was fouled, and hit the ground hard. She left the game with a knee injury, and the Vikings were awakened. The injury, coupled with a change in the defensive game plan energized the Viking offense and shut down the Warriors potent offensive attack.
"The hard foul there in the third quarter kind of woke us up," said Barr-Reeve coach Mark Holt. "It got the aggression going in our veins, and the 1-3-1 was no doubt the difference tonight. In spite of missing some layups, and a lot of free throws, it did take North Knox out of their half court offense. It got Maria Gugliotta a lot farther away from the basket." The first half was a seesaw affair with momentum coming and going with every possession. The first quarter alone saw four lead changes, capped off by Maria Gugliotta¹s jumper just before the first quarter buzzer sounded to give North Knox an 13-9 lead through the game's first eight minutes.
After a North Knox basket, Barr-Reeve responded with six straight points on its own to knot the score at 15. North Knox outscored the Vikings 10-7 the rest of the quarter to hold a slim 25-22 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, senior Cori Cummings connected on her first field goal of the night, a 3-pointer to cut the Warriors lead to 27-25. North Knox responded with five straight points, and appeared to be on the verge of running away from Barr-Reeve, until the injury flipped momentum permanently.
Following the injury to Kenney, Barr-Reeve ended the quarter on an 8-2 run, with 11 of the quarter's 14 points coming from Jenna Knepp and Cummings.
Midway through fourth quarter, the Vikings extended their lead to 41-34. In total, it was a 16-2 run to put the game away.
Knepp paced the Viking offense with 17 points, Tracy Graber had 10 points and Cummings had nine points on three 3-pointers in her final home game, The injury isn't believed to be a serious knee injury, but one that she will be able to return from fairly quickly to help the Vikings move forward.
"We don¹t believe it's a knee, we think it's a high ankle,² Holt said. "It doesn't look good for next week at all, but next week isn't all that important to us. The sectional week is important. Hopefully the right kind of care and treatment, and she'll have to be diligent to get her back. Maybe we'll catch a break on the draw, and we won't play until next Friday."
The Vikings made their free throws in the fourth quarter, after struggling much of the night from the charity stripe to cruise to the eight-point victory. The comfortable victory gave Holt an opportunity to remove Cummings, and fellow senior Alexis Chestnut from the game to a loud ovation from the home crowd.