LOOGOOTEE — If anyone had begun to believe that the Barr-Reeve-Loogootee rivalry had lost any of its luster, then the Rick Graves Tennis Center was the place to be to have that notion completely dismissed.
The Lions and Vikings both came into the match undefeated, and it would take almost 3 hours and 30 minutes to figure out who would remain that way. However when it was all said and done, Barr-Reeve’s No. 3 Nathan Hunt was able to post a 7-5 win in the third set to help push B-R to the 3-2 win and move them to 16-0.
“It was hard fought win. We knew Loogootee was going to be really good and has had a great season, and we have to get ourselves ready for sectional. Sectional is going to be a dogfight, and we are going to have to fight and dig. There are several teams that can win sectional,” said B-R coach Brock Higgins. “I’m proud of how we played, and we have an even bigger challenge ahead of us. There are two or three teams that can win sectional, and we have to be prepared.”
Hunt defeated Bryant Eckerle, 7-5 (7-2), 2-6 and 7-5 that Eckerle nearly picked off, battling back from a 4-1 deficit in the third set to tie it at 5-5.
The other two Viking wins came in doubles as Vikings Tommy Kidwell and Aaron Wagler defeated Luke Nonte and Sebastian Toy, 3-6, 6-0 and 6-4, in the top spot, while Hagen Knepp and Logan Graber also picked up a 6-4 and 7-5 over Loogootee’s Jayden Leatherman and Nathan Seals.
Both of the Loogootee wins came at the top two singles slots, in an interesting battle that featured two sets of brothers.
At No. 1 singles, Jordan Wildman beat B-R’s Brycen Graber, 6-4 and 6-2, while twin brother Jalen Wildman beat Kayden Graber, 7-6 (7-2) and 6-2.
With the loss the Lions fell to 14-2 and it was their first loss in the Blue Chip Conference.
“This is the exact same thing that happened to us last year in this match, and we will have to use it to motivate us in a couple of areas and get us ready for sectional. The key to this match was the key points that they played well. We got ourselves in a couple of holes and couldn’t dig out of. Give credit to Barr-Reeve, they played better than we did and deserved to win,” said LHS coach Mike Tippery.