Seeking to make its first appearance in the championship game of the ONB Holiday Classic since joining the 8-team tournament field in 2017, the Loogootee Lions came up just short as North Daviess (5-4, 1-0 in SWIAC) narrowly escaped with a 37-35 victory. It was also the sixth straight game played between the Lions and Cougars that has been decided by 4 points or less. On a night in which Loogootee grinded out every point they could get, ND took command early by securing a 9-2 first quarter lead. It proved to be crucial as LHS would outscore the Cougars in each of the next three stanzas, but it was not enough to overcome its early deficit. North Daviess would take a 20-14 lead into the locker room, and later carried a 28-23 advantage into the third. Despite the Lions offensive struggles, Ryan Haywood’s team refused to go away as Loogootee (7-2, 2-0 in BCC) managed to pull to within one on three different occasions in the waning moments of the game. LHS finally drew even with the Cougars for the first time since the game tipped off when Silas Bauer hit the front end of a one-and-one to tie the game at 35-35, but moments later Kirk Wagler’s short pull-up jumper in the lane with :1.6 seconds left sealed the 37-35 victory for Brent Dalrymple and North Daviess.
The win allowed the Cougars to exact revenge on the Lions, who defeated ND 44-40 back on November 26. Friday night’s game marked the 60th time Loogootee and North Daviess have met on the hardwood with the Lions claiming victory in exactly 75% (45-15) of the head-to-head meetings.
* Silas Bauer (17 pts, 6 rebs)
* Jalen Wildman (6 pts, 3 rebs)
* Landon Harder (4 pts, 4 rebs)
* Peyton Bledsoe (3 pts)
* Jordan Wildman (3 pts, 3 rebs)
* Nathaniel Hart (2 pts)
* Luke Nonte (3 asts)