By Gregg A. Sims
Barr-Reeve won its first sectional title since 2006 this past Saturday, but the Vikings have had little time to celebrate with the Class A West Washington Regional on the horizon.
While defeating four-time sectional champ and defending state champion Vincennes Rivet in the sectional’s semifinal was no small task, the 22-0 Vikings have, in many ways, a similar task now awaiting in the noon game against Borden.
The Braves (17-6) defended their own sectional title with a 45-34 win against New Washington, and returned eight players from last year’s championship team.
There’s plenty of talent to go around for the Braves who are similar to Rivet with size and length. But one Brave will get special attention from the Vikings, 5-10 senior forward Erin Mikel.
“Mikel may be one of the best players we have seen this year,” Barr-Reeve coach Mark Holt said. “She has a lot of ability and can score from a lot of places. I believe she probably is a better overall player than anyone on the Rivet roster.”
The comparisons with the Patriots are numerous. Allison Rademacher, niece of Barr-Reeve varsity assistant Joe Rademacher, is a 6-0 senior. Senior post player Allison Bishop (5-10) completes a well-rounded inside game for the Braves.
Mikel scored 21 points against New Washington, Rademacher had eight and Bishop seven, as Borden won its seventh straight game after starting the season 10-6.
The Braves held New Washington to 21 percent shooting while winning the battle of the boards, 35-32. The Braves did commit 17 turnovers to 14 for New Washington.
The sectional championship was the 10th in school history.
“They appear to be a big, physical team,” Holt said. “They (Borden) will probably like to make it a halfcourt game, and we want to make it fullcourt.”
A slower tempo will probably not be welcomed by the Class A No. 2 Vikings. Barr-Reeve will look to force errors, leading to easier transition baskets.
“We really don’t want to change anything we’ve done this year,” Holt said. “We’re looking at this as our 23rd game of the season, not the first game of a regional. We want to play up-tempo and get some good shots.”
In halfcourt, Holt believes the Braves could cause difficulties with their defense.
“Coach (Terry) Rademacher (brother of Joe Rademacher) has done some tweaking to their defenses,” Holt said. “They have good size, like to trap. We may see some defenses that we haven’t seen much of this year.”
The regional’s other bracket game features Northeast Dubois (19-4) and Tecumseh (11-11). The game is set to tip at 10 a.m.
Barr--Reeve defeated both teams in the regular season. Tecumseh fell early, 68-55, Nov. 22, at Tecumseh. Northeast Dubois was defeated at Barr-Reeve, 46-41, in a Blue Chip Conference game, Jan. 12.
“Well, we would have to be fortunate enough to win a first game before we would play a second,” Holt said. “We have played both teams, we have films on both teams. It would be the first time in some time since we’ve had to do that, but we feel we would be prepared for either team if we come out of the first game.”