By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
Class A No. 3 Barr-Reeve had a little trouble, but finally vanquished Shoals Friday, 55-28, to make today's Class A Loogootee Sectional final.
The Vikings (22-1) set up a final with Loogootee (18-5). The Lions defeated Barr-Reeve, 50-47, on Jan. 12 for Barr Reeve's only loss.
Unlike the 71-32 win on Dec. 14, the Jug Rox (4-17) played nothing like the team the Vikings saw before Christmas. Shoals kept up a conservative game from the four corners offense, while Barr-Reeve could not find the hoop for the first half.
It wasn't until the second half when the Vikings played like the 22-win team they are, taking a 37-13 point advantage for the easy win.
In the first quarter, Barr-Reeve shot 3-11 followed by some big threes by Dylan Erwin and Cole Kimmel, who scored 12, the Jug Rox held an 8-7 advantage when the quarter ended.
The second was a little kinder to Barr-Reeve as they went 4-11 and took a three-point advantage into halftime. Sophomore Addison Wagler kept the Vikings in the game with nice drop-step jumpers. Wagler ended up with 10 points in the game. Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes gave Shoals credit for the game plan they used.
"We missed some shots early and kind of got us a poor start," Hughes said. "They were quick enough to handle the basketball and to play keep away from us." Shoals coach Brian Smith said he was really pleased with the team's first half.
"We were very positive heading into the locker room at halftime," Smith said. "We were very pleased." Led by senior Jacob Bledsoe, Barr-Reeve actually held the Jug Rox scoreless in the third quarter as Shoals racked up more turnovers than shots, 5-2.
Bledsoe had eight of his game-high 12 points in the frame. Hughes was pleased with his performance in the second half and the quickness exhibited by Chris Wittmer coming off the bench.
The coach went on to say there was not many changes were made in the locker room, but there was more intensity from his team.
"We just wanted to get a couple buckets and when we were up 10 or 11, we went to the 3-2 zone, it was time to stop chasing," Hughes said.
When Barr-Reeve went into that zone, the rout was on. Heath Graber led the charge in the fourth quarter, getting six of his 10 points off easy turnovers. Smith said the Vikings were just too much in the second half.
For Barr-Reeve, Myron Stoll and Heath Bullock had eight points each and Logan James added three points.
Hughes said not much will be in the cards for today's final against Loogootee, but more of the same play the Vikings have made this season.
"We won 22 games, so it's not the time to start changing stuff," Hughes said. "We've got to bring it and bring some toughness to all positions."