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Lions slay Spartans
By John Mullen
   A three-game losing streak to Blue Chip foe South Knox came to a welcome halt on Tuesday night inside Jack Butcher Arena as the hosts slipped past the South Knox Spartans 54-45. After an ugly junior varsity affair that Loogootee coughed up 40-27, the varsity struck back as the local boys took it right at SK big fella’ Mitchell Patton. The 6’9” IUPUI recruit did some damage inside, providing 14 points and several boards to go with a couple of blocks, but the Lions were able to overcome his large presence with early three-point shooting, slick ball control, and stingy defense in the last quarter that prevented any type of comeback.  
  The game took on a racecar pace in the first frame as the hosts roared out to a one-point lead at 18-17. Two treys from John Baugh and another from Ben Hogan got the offensive engine plugging.  The second stanza was the difference as Loogootee built a nine point bulge, 32-23, that they would maintain throughout the second half despite the Spartans cutting the deficit to two possessions on a couple of occasions.  
  Six Loogootee players hit buckets in the decisive eight minutes with Bryant Ackerman and Conner Wittmer each stroking a 3.  Ben Hogan’s bucket came just before the halftime buzzer as he drove past Patton in the post and hit the hoop.  
  South Knox outscored the home team by two, 11-9, in the third to cut the deficit to 41-34.  Later, with the Lions clinging to a somewhat slippery 43-36 advantage, Josh Divine picked up a steal and lay-in at the three minute marker, and two Bryant Ackerman bonus free throws with just under two minutes remaining made the score 47-36.  Divine missed a bonus, but Ackerman provided a timely theft and fed Divine for another lay-up and an inevitably insurmountable 49-38 cushion. The rest of the way saw charity tosses as Jordan Arvin stuck two, Ben Hogan drained a couple at :31.4 seconds, and Ackerman got 1-4 to drop in the final twenty ticks for the nine point outcome.  
  As has been the case throughout the season, balance was a key; Hogan and Ackerman got a dozen each and Divine made 11.  Baugh had his eight in the first half, Jordan Arvin picked up six off the bench, and Wittmer managed five on a tough shooting night from the outside.  
  The Spartans received five three-pointers and a game-high 19 tallies from senior Cody Hendershot.  
  In the preliminary, the Lions crept back into contention by tying the reserve game at 21 all with one quarter to play, but South Knox quickly regained control of the game and sealed the deal at the free throw line in the last few minutes.  Stephen Bradley scored 13 off the bench to lead the B-team. Austin Bradley contributed four, Colin Nelson three, Kirk Lengacher, Matt Tucker, and Waylon Matthews two, and Daniel Wildman one free throw for the 4-2 reserve outfit.  
  The Lions stand at 5-1 heading into Homecoming Friday night against Pike Central.  Game time is at 6:00 p.m. with the annual king and queen ceremony to take place between games.  Pike Central is 1-3, as they dropped encounters to Jasper, Barr-Reeve, and Princeton, but the Chargers are coming off an impressive 43-39 victory at the hands of a strong Southridge group.
-Photo by Polly Bledsoe
Senior Josh Divine stands at the free-throw line. Divine ended the game with 11 points.
Scorebook photo
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