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Doggone gone and done it

By John Mullen, Sports writer
  Thursday night against an inspired Orleans outfit was almost another “doggone it”; but, after two pressure-packed free tosses in the closing seconds by senior captain Josh Divine, the Lions averted two three-point tries from the visitors to tie and made the game an exciting 53-50 “doggone gone and done it” win.  Loogootee had dropped four straight encounters with one of Class 1A’s powerhouses the past ten years; however, with senior stalwart Jonathan Smith, available for just small portions of the contest, the Lions did just enough to hang on for the team’s 12 th victory in 16 outings.  
  Ben Hogan was the man with the big stick early as he swung the momentum right away in his team’s favor with 10 of the 12 points in the first eight minutes.  The lead jumped from six to a dozen as Hogan continued to stroke it for another eight in the second stanza.  
  The Bulldogs were chomping away at the lead, though, as they stuck perfect 10-10 charity tosses to keep the margin close at 28-20 heading into intermission.  The third quarter featured a vigorous effort from the “Dogs” to get back in the game and only Jordan Arvin’s second and third three-balls late in the frame kept the hosts on top by a slim 39-37 advantage.  
  Orleans stuck another five of six freebies in the third period but would not get to the line again as they had to rely on the long ball late to make the game much too close for comfort.  The uncomfortable feeling was a result of four missed free throws in the fourth by the home team including two front-end bonus opportunities that would have made the affair case-closed.  
  As mentioned, most of the offense came from Hogan’s 22 and Arvin’s 12.  Bryant Ackerman hit shots in three separate quarters for seven, Conner Wittmer recorded his five in the last stanza while four of Divine’s five also came in the final eight minutes of play.  John Baugh added a second period deuce for two tallies.  Wittmer, fighting off the flu bug, smothered nine rebounds.  Hogan and Divine both dished the rock for five dimes with Ackerman distributing three to go with four deflections.  
  For the skidding Bulldogs, Smith saw action late in three of the four quarters but just missed getting a couple of drives to go down.  The 11-5 group got impressive balance as their starting five provided 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8 in the losing cause.  
  The Loogootee junior varsity continued their seemingly unexplainable up-and-down play – this time with a well-played 28-22 ‘W’ against a one-loss opponent.  Austin Bradley and Kirk Lengacher both canned six while Waylon Matthews delivered five.  Matt Tucker four, Clinton Burch a trey, Stephen Bradley two, and Jon Sherfick a bucket for the 9-7 lil’ Lions.
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-Photo by Jana Seal
Ben Hogan is doubleteamed on an inbound pass and for good reason.  Hogan scored 22 points in Lions 54-50 victory over Orleans last Thursday at Jack Butcher Arena.
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