Dec. 31—ELNORA — In what is often called "the state's best rivalry," a top 5 match-up between Barr-Reeve (7-4) and Loogootee (10-3) was featured in the third-place game of the Bobcat Classic at North Daviess.
And just like every other Viking-Lion match up, it didn't disappoint.
The Lions used a Peyton Bledsoe basket with :05 left to play, to secure first of at least two potential games this season.
Barr-Reeve was led by Hagen Knepp with 20, but Bledsoe had the same number for the Lions as the two teams battled to the final seconds.
"I thought we played well and so did they, but we both can play better," said BR coach Josh Thompson. "It was just two teams that battled."
The Lions opened with a basket from Bledsoe, however the Vikings quickly found their range, as Reed Thompson and Kayden Graber added a pair of treys, along with a bucket from Hagen Knepp to end the first half with a 15-9 lead.
Knepp also posted the first basket of the second, as B-R went up 17-9. Nick Swartzentruber also got into the 3-point action, with a pair from the corner to make it 23-9. Bledsoe ended the 8-0 run with 3:45 left in the half with the next five points.
Swartzentruber then posted his third trey of the quarter, but Leighton Jeffers responded with his own triple for the Lions. Knepp also added two of the Vikes' nine 3-pointers to take a 32-19 lead into the half.
However, the Lions immediately tightened things up with points from Parker Arvin, Bledsoe and Luke Nonte to cut it to 26-32 in the first two minutes of the second half. Jeffers also got in on the action as the Lions continued to chip away at the lead.
Graber added his third trey of the night and B-R moved back to 37-29. Swartzentruber added an interior basket.
Bledsoe added a Lion tally with a drive to the rack, but was answered with a Knepp hoop on the ensuing possession and leading to the 41-31 score after three quarters.
The Lions got the lead back to 43-38 after a pair of Bledsoe tosses, but both teams traded buckets to make it 45-40. Nonte add four free throws and the led was cut to three with 2:50 left. After a Viking turnover, Bledsoe drain a trey from the corner to tie it at 47-all with 2:03 to go. Although Thoampson added a free three throw, Bledsoe answered with a trey to give the Lions a 49-48 lead with 1:10 left to play.
But the heroics were just beginning as Knepp gave the Vikes a lead (50-49) with :16 left, but Bledsoe responded with :05 left to make it 51-50. Although B-R did have one final chance, they were unable to convert.
B-R's Kayden Graber and Swartzentruber had 11 each, eight from Reed Thompson, while Loogootee had 11 from Nonte, eight from Arvin, seven from Jeffers, three from Jon Whitworth and two from Isaac Eagle.