The traditional start to the high school basketball season opened at the Hatchet House on Wednesday. The No.1 Class A Barr-Reeve Vikings used a double-digit rebounding advantage and the athleticism of senior Micah Bullock to post a 53-42 win over the Washington Hatchets in the well-attended border battle. In the win, Bullock ended the game with 20 points and a signature dunk, while WHS got 20 from sophomore Colton Garland.
The Hatchets and Vikings battled for much of the first half, separated by only a last second bucket, but B-R was able to find interior baskets and a dominant effort of the offensive glass in the third to pave the way for the 11-point win that lasted just over an hour.
“It was good to get back on the court,” said B-R coach Bryan Hughes. “This game is always special for me and a good way to start the year.”
The Hatchets matched B-R throughout much of the opening eight minutes. The Hatchets never trailed by more than three as Garland posted seven of Washington’s first nine points.
B-R got six of their first 10 from Bullock, but Logan Lengacher and Addison Wagler also picked up interior buckets, to push BR to the 10-9 lead after one.
The Hatchets dominated the early minutes of the second quarter. Baskets from Andy Garland, Tyler Stoll and Colton Garland pushed WHS to a 16-10 margin. However, Wagler, Chris Wittmer and Bullock added buckets to battle back to a 19-18 lead.
“I was really concerned with how we were going to guard them, because I knew they had kids who could shoot the ball and put it on the floor,” said B-R coach Bryan Hughes.
The biggest play of the half came in the final seconds, as B-R with a one-point lead, was able to steal the inbound pass and score, sending the Vikes into the half with the 26-23 lead.
The third quarter proved to be the turning point in the game, The Vikings were able to outscore WHS 17-4, in what basically came on the heels of a 10-2 rebounding advantage, including six offensive boards. Overall, BR had a 26-9 rebounding advantage. WHS also got into foul trouble early in the quarter, as Jake Bedwell picked up his third and fourth foul within the opening two minutes of the half, after his bucket pulled WHS back to within one at 26-25.
“We had a quick layup against that press and then we kind of threw the ball around a couple of times and that one point lead went to nine or 10 pretty quickly and they were able to ride that out,” said WHS coach Gene Miiller.
“They were able to get the ball into the bigs and get some rebounds. We have to learn how to defend the bigs and attack on the offensive end. We know we aren’t going to be big this year, so it is something we are going to have to learn how to adjust to.”
B-R went on a 17-2 run that was punctuated by Bullock’s two-handed slam that made it 41-25.
“We want to get the ball to the inside and we didn’t do that in the first half,” said Hughes. “We did a lot of chasing in the first half, but came out with a little press got some turnovers. We were able attack more in the paint and that helped get us going. We let Washington be way too comfortable in their offense in the first half.”
WHS cut back into the lead with a pair of 3-pointers from Connor Brown and a pair from Garland in the fourth quarter, outscoring B-R 15-10. Garland led WHS with 20 points, whlie Brown was second with 10. Garland also led WHS with four boards. Any Garland had six, while Stoll, Bedwell and Matt Stephens had two each.
Bullock’s 20 led BR included three treys, while Wagler added 10. Lengacher added 9 and Wittmer posted seven. Also scoring for B-R was Logan James with four and Duncan Roy with three.
“Micah is a nice player, he can do a lot of things for us. He has good size, quick and can shoot weel,” added Hughes.
In the JV game, BR posted a 50-23 victory, Adam Graber led the way with 15 points, while Matt Stoll had 10 and Jon Walker had eight. WHS was led by Carson Smith with nine, while Clay Walker, Timber Shelton, and Matt Spark had four each.
BR (53) — Wittmer 2 0 3-4 7, Bullock 4 3 3-4 20, James 2 0 2-8 4, Roy 1 0 1-2 3, Wagler 5 0 0-0 10, Lengacher 2 0 5-7 9. Totals 16 3 12-17 53
WHS (42) — Brown 2 2 0-0 10, C. Garland 3 4 2-2 20, A.Garland 2 0 2-2 6, Stephens 1 0 0-0 2, Stoll 1 0 0-0 2, Bedwell 1 0 0-0 2. Totals 10 6 4-4 42.
BR 10 16 17 10 — 53
WHS 9 14 4 15 — 42
Rebounds WHS 9 B-R 26
3point goals BR 3 WHS 6