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   The Barr-Reeve Vikings reduced their magic number to one, with a 59-48 victory over the North Central Thunderbirds, Saturday afternoon in the Seymour Semi-State.  Barr-Reeve drew first blood on a Trey Hughes jumper but North Central countered scoring on their first five possessions.  As a result the T-Birds jumped out to an early 11-5 lead over the Vikings, easily breaking the Barr-Reeve's opening game zone press.  Senior T-Bird guard Ethan Stanifer drained two early three’s to sustain North Central’s  thrust into the Viking defense.  
   After a Bryan Hughes’s timeout, Barr-Reeve  moved out of their zone defense into a man-to-man defense, where the matchups seemed to be more favorable to the Vikings. The move righted the  ship and the Vikings began a sure but methodical comeback.  During the last minute of the 1st quarter the Vikings had cut the T-Bird lead to 12-14, and had a chance to take the lead on a last second attempt by Trey Hughes, but the shot beyond the arc missed to end the quarter.
   The second quarter saw a change of strategy for North Central as they dropped back into a zone defense to try and slow down the Viking offense.  As it as been the case so many times during the Viking run to the state, Barr-Reeve’s defense has shut down their opponents offense on multiple, consecutive
possessions. This was again the case in the 2nd quarter as North Central failed to convert on four straight possessions.  Barr-Reeve took advantage of the T-Bird drought and regained the lead at 19-16.  The Vikings defense continued to make the T-Birds work for every shot as Barr-Reeve pulled away at half-time 27-22.
   The Vikings floundered at the start of the 3rd quarter committing three straight offensive fouls and turning the ball over on four of their first six possessions.  However, the T-Birds could do little to take advantage of their opportunities.  The T-Birds did outscore the Vikings 6-2 during this stretch but they would get no closer than 29-28 at the 4:04 mark.
   Senior Trey Hughes took over the 3rd quarter, scoring on three straight possessions, twice calling for a clear out on the right side.  Hughes was able to drop in a running layup on two of those three possessions creating some breathing room for the Vikings.  Perhaps the final dagger came at the end of the 3rd quarter when Hughes, who had been holding the ball for a last shot, took his T-Bird defender one-on-one, burying a 3 at the top of key to give the Vikings a 38-32 lead entering the 4th quarter.
   At the start of the 4th quarter T-Bird guard Ethan Stanifer lost a contact lens going after a loose ball
enabling Barr-Reeve to attack at the other end with only four defenders.  Ashton Wagler made the T-Birds pay with a three stretching the Viking lead to 9 at 41-32.  However, the T-Birds kept the game interesting as they continually pushed the ball on every opportune moment, as Stanifer made some key three pointers midway through the quarter.  The T-Birds gave the Viking faithful a bit of a start as they closed the lead to 43-41 at the 4:35 tick, but Barr-Reeve was able to stave off every North Central rally during the well fought contest.  Senior Trey Hughes turned an ankle during this stretch and the Vikings struggled against the T-Bird's 1-3-1 half court trap.  Barr-Reeve survived the onslaught and Hughes returned to the lineup after a timeout.
Barr-Reeve missed a key free-
throw late in the game but the Vikings were able to retain possession on an out of bounds call that allowed them to retain possession.  Barr-Reeve’s Christian Duncheon scored on on the ensuing inbound pass and was fouled.  Duncheon dropped in the free-throw extending the Viking lead to 49-41.  The game begin to turn North Central's way again as five consecutive points by the T-Birds’ Jordan Stefancik once again gave the T-Birds hope at 49-46.  However, Barr-Reeve beat back North Central’s comeback hopes.  The Vikings gave the T-Birds one more chance on a turnover with 1:23 to go in the quarter, but it appeared the T-Birds ran out of gas as several of their shots missed their mark, and the Vikings cleaned up the mess at the charity stripe ending North Central’s hopes of their first ever semi-state championship at 59-48.  The Vikings will take on Bowman Academy of Gary next week at Conseco Field House in Indianapolis for the IHSAA Class 1A state championship.  This makes the third trip this decade for Barr-Reeve to the state finals, with two of them coming in the last four years.
Leading all scorer's on the day was Barr-Reeve’s Trey Hughes with 23 points.  Other Vikings' scorers were  Christian Duncheon with 15, Aston Wagler 11, Josh Swartzentruber and Jordan Sinnott both with 4, and Brandon Graber dropped in 2 to round out the Viking attack. North Central was led in scoring by Ethan Stanifer with 20, Jordan Stefancik with 13, Tyler Howkinson with 10 and Bobby Swaby contributed 5.
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Vikings set sail for state finals with 59-48 victory in Semi-State