MONTGOMERY — What a difference a half makes.
The Class A No. 1 Vikings (11-1) defeated Wood Memorial (5-8) 54-35 behind 17 points from Addison Wagler and 14 from Micah Bullock Friday night at Kavanaugh Kourt after a sluggish start on the defensive end.
Coming out of halftime with an eight-point lead it appeared Barr-Reeve had the momentum, but the Trojans weren’t about to quit. Wood Memorial scored seven of the first nine points to start the second half, including five from Trojan guard Sam Trader to cut the lead to 34-31 and forcing a Barr-Reeve timeout with 4:59 to play in the quarter. Barr-Reeve’s defense pitched a shutout for the final five minutes and baskets from Addison Wagler and James pushed the lead to 38-31 as the game headed to the final quarter.
The defensive dominance continued into the fourth quarter as the Trojans could only manage four points in the quarter and didn’t get their first basket of the fourth until the 2:49 mark.
“We changed up and went to a little bit of zone,” said Barr-Reeve coach Bryan Hughes. “Everything just came difficult for us tonight.”
In the fourth quarter, Wagler scored 11 of his game-high 17 points to finish off the Trojans after the center had been limited in the first half with early foul trouble.
“He played well late, but he can’t play well when he’s on the bench,” Hughes said. “There have been some games this year where he has started out with two quick fouls and he’s got to be a lot smarter than that.”
On paper, Friday night’s game looked like a mismatch in favor of the Vikings, who were playing only their second home game of the season. The first three minutes played out the way you thought it might with the Vikings jumping out to a 10-4 lead. The Trojans fought back and took a 13-12 lead on a Conner Sevier basket with 1:28 to play in the quarter. A Logan James three-point play, followed by a Sam Trader basket tied the game at 15 at the end of the quarter.
“I thought our guys had a way too relaxed attitude and thought they were going to get a lot of steals,” Hughes said.
To start the second, Barr-Reeve reserve forward Jon McMullen took center stage as the Vikings took control of the game. McMullen scored the quarter’s first eight points, including two 3-pointers. Senior Micah Bullock ended the quarter by scoring Barr-Reeve’s final five points to give the Vikings a 32-24 halftime lead. Bullock and Sevier tied for a game-high 10 points at the half.
“We didn’t handle (Conner) Sevier very well and we let him get a head of steam and that’s what created all of our problems in the first half,” Hughes said.
James had nine points, McMullen added eight points and Chris Wittmer had three points. Wood Memorial was led by Trader and Sevier, who scored 12 points apiece.
The Vikes don’t get a rest as North Daviess visits Kavanaugh Kourt tonight for the Buggy Bowl after suffering a tough overtime loss to conference rival Linton Friday night.
“We need to get a lot better and not be soft, because we had a bunch of softies out there tonight,” Hughes said.