Vikings dominant in regional win
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer
For the first 1:37 of Saturday night’s Class 1A Loogootee Regional championship, Lanesville seemed like it was on its way to giving No. 1-ranked Barr-Reeve a run for its money.
With nice ball movement by their teammates, Jonas Powers and Jacob Wernert both were able to score inside and put the Vikings on their heels.
Barr-Reeve (27-2) scored the next 17 points unanswered to the quarter break, and the Eagles never got closer than nine points the rest of the way as the Vikings won their 21st consecutive game in rolling past Lanesville, 64-34, in front of a couple thousand fans at Jack Butcher Arena.
The winners hit 11 of 18 shots from downtown, including 6 of 8 in the third quarter, and held the Eagles (18-8) to just one field goal in the final quarter as they punched their ticket to the Washington Semi-state to face No. 8-ranked Indianapolis Tindley (18-9) on Saturday at 2 p.m.
It was the fourth time Barr-Reeve ended the Eagles’ season, the most recent being in a regional affair two years ago, in a similarly lop-sided outcome, 69-36. Lanesville is 0-5 against Barr-Reeve all time.
“They hit some key threes in some key moments, and there were two or three times where we made a little bit of a run here or there and they’d hit another one,” said Lanesville coach Mikel Miller. “We got off to a pretty good start, 4-0, and really even missed some shots right after that that were good looks and stuff, and then they hit a couple of threes to make it 6-4 and they just never let up.
“There were some breakdowns that occurred that we couldn’t afford to have and, to their credit, they took advantage of it,” he said. “It’s tough to match up when, really, all five of their guys can shoot threes. You’ve got to pick your poison, and we thought there were a couple of guys that we could help off of a little bit and then they hit threes, too.”
Hagen Knepp, a 6-4 junior for the Vikings, scored 11 of his team’s first 17 points and 15 of his club’s first 24 until suffering an ankle injury with 4:10 left in the second quarter and sitting the rest of the game. No one caught him for high-game honors, with Kayden Graber adding 12 on four triples and Curt Hopf, a 6-9 transfer from Forest Park, pitching in 12 points.
Lanesville simply had no answer for Knepp’s early output.
“To their credit, and I’m not being disrespectful to him, but they didn’t have any drop-off when he came out. They were still able to score with dribble penetration and stuff, and that’s a credit to them. It just seems like every time we get to this point, they’ve got kids who can knock down big shots when they need to,” Miller said, possibly referring to Lanesville’s 2007 Seymour Semi-state contest against Barr-Reeve, which ended when Josh Pielemeier drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that sent the Vikings to the Class 1A state championship game, 46-43, in overtime.
After Barr-Reeve rattled off 17 unanswered, Wernert sank one of two free throws early in the second frame and then Mason Miller sliced his way to the bucket to cut the margin to nine, 17-8, with 7:06 left. The Vikings had two goals before Ethan Schickel tickled the twine from deep.
The clubs swapped baskets for a stretch before Wernert had a put-back at the 2:26 mark to make it a 12-point contest. Hopf hit inside, and Schickel bombed his second three with a minute remaining to set the score at 31-20 at intermission.
Barr-Reeve blew the game open in the third with its dead-aim shooting, going 7 of 11 overall and 6 of 8 from distance. Miller, Wernert and Schickel were the only players to reach the scorebook in the period, which ended with the Vikings opening up a 51-32 lead going into the final stretch.
Lanesville’s only goal in the fourth came at the 5:56 mark on a deuce by Powers.
“The first couple of baskets we got off good ball movement, and then there were times where we got in too much one-on-one stuff and that usually means there’s too much standing around, which then means, from a defensive standpoint, we weren’t able to get rebounds because we weren’t in the right position to get the ball when it came off,” Miller said. “When you’ve got a 6-9 guy in there, and that makes a big difference in there not just from an offensive standpoint, but from a defensive standpoint, as well. You put those shooters around him and it makes them even more difficult to defend.”
Wernert paced the Eagles with 13 points, followed by Schickel with nine and Powers and Miller with six apiece.
Lanesville was 14 of 35 (40%) from the field, 3 of 10 on threes and 3 of 4 at the foul stripe. Barr-Reeve, which out-rebounded the Eagles, 21 to 15, was 24 of 40 (60%) overall and hit 5 of 6 at the line. Lanesville committed just 10 turnovers against Barr-Reeve’s aggressive defense while forcing seven Viking miscues.
The Eagles lose a successful class of seniors: Miller, Powers, Schickel, Wernert, Ben Purdy and Ashton Smith.
“They finished their career with two sectional championships, three conference titles, a winning record each year and they helped keep our culture going here,” said Lanesville’s coach. “Hopefully, it sets things up for our younger kids moving forward. We’ve got some nice juniors and sophomores, and they, talent-wise, are similar, and now it’s a matter of work ethic and things like that to get to where this senior group was.”
Barr-Reeve 17 14 20 13 – 64
Lanesville 4 16 12 2 – 34
Barr-Reeve (27-2) – H. Knepp 15, K. Graber 12, Hopf 12, Miller 8, D. Graber 5, T. Knepp 5, Kidwell 3, Thompson 3, B. Graber 1.
Lanesville (18-8) – Wernert 13, Schickel 9, Mas. Miller 6, Powers 6.
3-point goals – Barr-Reeve 11 (K. Graber 4, Miller 2, D. Graber 1, Hopf 1, Kidwell 1, H. Knepp 1, Thompson 1); Lanesville 3 (Schickel 3).