By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
MONTGOMERY — There are good players and then there are special players, Barr-Reeve sophomore forward Addison Wagler is the latter.
Wagler is Vikings unquestioned leader on the court, despite being in only his second year of high school. The title of sophomore doesn¹t do justice to the talent that Wagler exudes.
He has improved his points and rebounds per game from 10.7/4.3 to 14.4/6.3 this year in leading Barr-Reeve to a 23-1 record heading into Saturday¹s regional at Loogootee.
Every time the Vikings needed a important performance he has provided it, and then some. In the Vikings Buggy Bowl matchup against North Daviess in Elnora, the second such game in three weeks, Wagler was nearly flawless at the Cougar Den. Wagler scored 26 of Barr-Reeve¹s 50 total points en route to a 11-point victory.
"He's just a player," said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. "He's a kid that's come up through our system, and a lot of different coaches have contributed to his success. He's kind of a special sophomore, I don't know how else to say it. When you have a 6-4 kid, who is as strong as he is, the footwork and the hands and the touch around the basket, he's just a very good player."
The Vikings only blemish on this season's schedule was a 50-47 loss at Kavanaugh Kourt to rival Loogootee.Wagler scored 16 points, but Barr-Reeve¹s spirited comeback fell just short.
The Lions wouldn't be so fortunate in the sectional championship.
In front of a evenly split crowd of Vikings and Lions fans at Jack Butcher Arena, Barr-Reeve took a 19-12 lead into halftime. In the third quarter Wagler put the Lions and their fans out of their misery.
Wagler scored eight points in the quarter to help push the lead to as many as 15, effectively ending Loogootee's chances for its second consecutive sectional crown. His 15 points might not jump off the score book page, but when Barr-Reeve needed to take off he was there to lead the charge.
The fact that Wagler is dominating like this as a sophomore should bring a smile and excitement to anyone associated with the Barr-Reeve basketball program. Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes said after winning the school¹s 11th sectional championship that he¹s very excited to have two more years after this year getting to coach Wagler.
As a freshman last year, Wagler was the lone non-Senior starter, but this season he has taken a leadership role, which he full embraces, and his game has taken the next step as well. The rest of the Vikings have followed.
"He started out most of last year as a player who played with his back to the basket," Hughes said. "This year he has developed into a kid that will catch the ball out 15-20 feet from the bucket, face you up and take you off the drive. He's so quick for a post player. He¹s a hard kid to guard."
The special sophomore has done everything in his power to get Barr-Reeve to this point.
Needing only four victories to deliver Barr-Reeve its first state championship, this is the time of year when good players become special ones.