Jordan Wildman had a game-high 32 points and Jalen Wildman added 17 along the way as the Class 1A, #7 ranked Loogootee Lions knocked off Class 2A, #3 ranked Blackford to earn 3rd place at the 14th annual ONB Holiday Classic. One night removed from arguably its worst offensive performance of the year, Ryan Haywood’s Lions reawakened 24 hours later with the team’s best offensive output thus far as LHS dropped a season-high 79 points on 28-48 (58%) shooting, all the while limiting the Bruins to just 35% from the field. Led on the sidelines by 84-year old Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Hoover, Blackford raced out to a 10-2 lead in the early going. After a shaky first game against Rushville, and a disappointing loss to North Daviess, things started to look bleak for Loogootee, but what ensued over the next 28 minutes was masterful as Haywood’s team rallied to score 16 of the next 24 points to level the game at 18-18 after one. The Lions picked right back up in the second, scoring 15 points, while holding Blackford to 8 to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room. The halftime recess did nothing to slow LHS down as they would stretch the lead to double figures at 54-40 by the end of three. The Bruins would cut it to nine early in the fourth at 56-47, but Loogootee, led by Jordan Wildman, slammed the door shut by rolling off 21 of the next 31 points to see their lead balloon to twenty at 77-57. In the meantime, Blackford standout Luke Brown, who averages 32.5 ppg and 10 apg, struggled to get into the flow of the game as the Lions met him with two defenders at half court all night. Guided by Landon Harder, LHS disrupted Brown’s rhythm, forcing him to rely more on his teammates who combined to shoot just 12-43 (28%). Despite finishing 9-17 (53%) overall from FG range, Loogootee was able to hold Brown to only 25 points and 4 assists. It was the junior phenom’s lowest scoring output in nearly a year when he was held to just 20 points in a regular season game at Eastbrook back on January 25. After spotting BHS a 10-2 lead in the early going, the Lions would go on to outscore the Bruins by 24 points in the final three and a half periods of play, winning by a final of 79-63. In the first ever meeting between the two schools it was Jordan Wildman who stole the show. The 5-10 junior guard torched Blackford (6-2, 2-0 in CIC) for 32 points on 13 of 18 (72%) shooting, while pulling down 4 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. Twin brother, Jalen Wildman followed with 17 points of his own to go with 6 boards and Peyton Bledsoe netted 13 points along with 5 assists for LHS.
* Jordan Wildman (32 pts, 4 rebs, 4 asts)
* Jalen Wildman (17 pts, 6 rebs)
* Peyton Bledsoe (13 pts, 5 asts)
* Silas Bauer (8 pts, 7 rebs)
* Nathaniel Hart (4 pts)
* Landon Harder (3 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts)
* Luke Nonte (2 pts, 5 rebs, 4 asts)
This year marked the 3rd appearance for Loogootee in the Holiday Tip-off Classic at ND. Since the Lions began competing in the tournament, they have posted a 5-4 overall record. In addition to finishing 3rd place this year, LHS also finished third back in 2017. They finished 7th last year.
Loogootee will return to action on Friday, January 3 when they go on the road to meet Gene Miller and the Class 3A, #14 ranked Washington Hatchets (6-1) who carry a 6-game winning streak into the fabled Hatchet House.