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Lions rock out at Shoals
   Loogootee got the New Year off to a rocking start on Saturday as they dropped a ball, basketball-style, on Shoals flattening the Jug Rox 69-34.  The first period was mainly a cold one from the Lions’ outside bombers save for Josh Divine as his two straight treys late in the frame along with a Ben Hogan basket-and one with 1.6 ticks helped the visitors to a 15-5 advantage after eight minutes of play.  
  John Baugh found Hogan for a lay-up to jumpstart a solid second stanza.  Later, sixth man Jordan Arvin grabbed a Hogan three-point miss for an offensive rebound, the squad’s seventh of the kind to that point, and his subsequent basket at 5:30 pushed the margin to 19-6.  Divine drained another triple sixty seconds later, and it took another minute before Shoals’ Garrett Bateman hit his second hoop; Hogan promptly responded by getting around his man on a baseline drive for a 24-8 bulge.  At 2:24, Bateman reached the bonus but missed his first opportunity.  With 1:44 on the clock, Divine stuck two charity tosses for his tenth and eleventh points of the evening, but Bateman promptly drew a foul and the two free tosses finally got the Rox into double figures but down 26-10.  He made two more at the half-minute mark, but Conner Wittmer stuck a dagger, three-style, just before the buzzer for a 39-22 lead heading into halftime.
   Following intermission, Wittmer and the Jug Rox Darek Turpin traded two points before Baugh stuck his first 3 from the left corner.  Bateman responded with his own three-pointer on the next trip down; however, Baugh got two right back at the free throw line. Turpin missed two chances from the opposite stripe, and Bryant Ackerman got his first hoop to drop for a 38-17 difference.  Bateman recorded an old-fashioned three-point play midway through the third, but Jordan Arvin dropped a bomb from the same spot Baugh splashed to negate Bateman’s and-one.
  A three-minute lull then ensued when neither team tickled the twine; finally, at 1:10, Divine’s two freebies interrupted the scoreboard operator’s nap as Loogootee fronted 43-22.  Turpin managed an offensive carom and bucket, but Divine found coming along junior post Stephen Bradley for a strong post move with just under six seconds to go as the Lions maintained a comfortable 21 point distance, 45-24.  
  A tight Ackerman to Divine dish to begin the fourth frame and then a repeat performance vice-versa the next time down the hardwood jumped the margin to two-dozen tallies.  Two straight Baugh boards and stick-backs followed by an Ackerman drive at 4:44 jumped the digits to 55-25 as Coach Mike Wagoner began to substitute freely.  At that point, both Baugh and Wittmer finished their nights with nine while Ackerman rested after contributing a half-dozen.  Bradley made a free toss, and Arvin stroked his second three-bagger to continue the route.  With 3:09 to play, Divine and Hogan both came out with 15 and nine points to their credit respectively.  A Greg Woody charity shot made the score 63-25 and polished off an impressive 18-1 scoring run before Shoals responded with a lay-up.  Arvin splashed another three from that busy left corner giving him 13 tallies, Matt Tucker got in on the action with a lay-in, and Woody again canned 1-2 at the line.  Down 42, Shoals hit three straight field goals in the contest’s last minute to slice seven off the ultimate outcome.  
  As mentioned, Divine led the way with a career-high 15 while picking up eight dimes running the point, Arvin had a baker’s dozen, and three players picked up nine:  Baugh, Hogan, and Wittmer.  Hogan also went to the boards hard snaring a game-high eight.  Woody and Bradley registered three and Tucker a deuce.  Bateman was kept in check by Ackerman and Woody as he mustered just 15 while Turpin and Zach Cook contributed six each.  Outside of sub-par free throw shooting, the Lions thoroughly dominated the game in every way.  
  The junior varsity affair also went the way of Loogootee 38-17.  Tucker put in nine, Colin Nelson and Austin Bradley six a piece, Aaron Howell, Daniel Wildman, and Kirk Lengacher four each, Jon Sherfick three free throws, and Clinton Burch a third quarter basket.  
  The big boys are 7-2 with a 4-0 Blue Chip record heading into a home match-up against a very defensive-minded 7-3 North Daviess outfit.
   Coach Wininger’s reserves are 6-3 and face a very good ND junior varsity unit.
-Photo by Larry Hembree
Senior Josh Divine goes up for the shot with the Shoals defender ready to strip the ball from his one-handed grip.