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Balanced Vikings garner road win against Titans

By RON GREESON - For The Courier-Times

LEWISVILLE – For Blue River Valley’s varsity boys basketball team, it was a matter of improving its defense and rebounding to go with a solid offense.

On Friday night, all three aspects were in sync, and the result was a 68-46 win over host Tri in Donald E. Schwarzkopf Gymnasium.

With the win, the Vikings improved to 2-1 on the young season, while the Titans remain winless at 0-3 in early season play.

It was all Blue River from the outset, as the Vikings sprinted to an 11-2 lead by the midpoint of the first quarter, then a 22-7 advantage at the first break. The deficit never got into single digits again in the battle between Henry County foes.

Not only was the Viking offense prolific early on in the Friday game, but it was balanced as well. All five Blue River starters had field goals in the first eight minutes of play, as did post player Jacob Madden off the bench. The team hit nine of 14 field goals attempts in the first quarter, while the host Titans could manage just three of 11 fielders.

The second quarter was much more closely contested, with Blue River recording 10 points and Tri nine, for a 32-16 Viking advantage at intermission. The Titans had narrowed the deficit to 25-14 before another Viking run.

A key to the success for the visitors, not only in the first half but all night long, was the team’s rebounding. Unofficially, the Vikings had 38 rebounds to 23 for the Titans, with sophomore Bryce Klein pacing the team with a baker’s dozen. Jacob Madden and Carter Morgan combined for nine more boards in reserve roles, and freshman post player Brevin Halatt had five rebounds.

“I thought we were much better defensively tonight (Friday),” said long-time Blue River varsity boys basketball Head Coach Brian Klein. “It’s the best we’ve done this year. I don’t even think the score is indicative of how well we played, giving up only 16 (points) at half, and 32 well into the fourth quarter.”

Overall, coach Klein was well pleased.

“I was proud of our effort, the kids played hard and well,” Klein went on. “I thought number five (Bryce Klein) did a good job defensively and rebounding, getting in the passing lanes and making deflections. We worked all week on defense, and we looked at film and saw we were standing around and watching too much."

The veteran coach explained further.

“So, with our lack of activity on defense, Shenandoah took advantage of us in the last game, and we were not in good position to rebound either,” Klein noted. “So, with more active and better defense, we were in position in this game and rebounded better.”

Offensively, by game’s end, Andrew Froedge had a game-high 19 points for Blue River, while Hallatt and Cole Cross each contributed 14 points. Klein ended up with eight points, in addition to his rebounding total, and Jackson Thornburgh scored six.

All 12 Vikings in uniform saw action in the game, as Blue River stretched out the lead to as much as 30 points by the midpoint of the fourth quarter, all before Tri finished strong with 11 of the game's last 14 points.

Blue River had outscored Tri 21-14 in the third quarter, then stretched out the lead to 65-35 with four and a half minutes remaining. The Vikings had hit eight of 14 field goal attempts in the third quarter, and the team’s starters were 12 for 20 from the free throw line.

Tri had a good finish offensively by hitting six of 10 field goals in the final quarter, and went eight of nine in charity tosses for the game, but didn’t get to the line very often.

“We are in a tight spot with this team, because some of the guys still need to apply the way we want to play, and others who have bought into that don’t yet have the skill set to execute at the varsity level,” said second-year varsity Head Coach Matt Lacy. “But we are working hard in practice every day to improve. The season is still young, and I have a group of good kids. I think we will figure it out and get better as the current season moves along.”

All 12 Titans in uniform saw action in the game, and 11 dented the scoring column. But five players had just two points apiece on one two-point field goal. Elijah Davis led Tri with 12 points, 10 of which came in the third quarter. The 6-4 senior wing was the only Titan in double figures in scoring.

Senior Jimmy Jeffries played for the first time this season for the Titans, hitting a trey at the first quarter buzzer, and converting a one-and-one opportunity right before halftime. He is working his way into the lineup after a serious ankle injury.

Junior Dillon Stevens has not played all season after breaking a bone in his hand. He was set for the starting lineup late in the preseason when the injury was incurred, and Lacy hopes that the doctor will release the Tri junior to play again soon.

Blue River played at Blackford Saturday night, facing high-scoring Blackford sophomore Luke Brown. Tri returns to action Friday with another matchup with a Henry County opponent, as the Titans travels to Von Jameson Gymnasium in Middletown to meet state-ranked Class 2A Shenandoah.

In a high-scoring junior varsity game, Blue River held off Tri 50-42. Noah Dunn had 23 points for the Vikings, who outscored the host Titans 31-26 in the first half of the contest. After both teams went cold in the third quarter, both heated back up in the fourth quarter, with Devon Guffey adding 10 points for BRV, and Hunter Boils had nine.

For the Titan junior varsity, Christian McLemore led with 11 points, Trey Williams contributed seven, and Hunter Crandall had six.

Blue River Valley 68, Tri 46


Cross 6-15 2-5 14, Klein 3-7 1-2 8, Thornburgh 2-7 1-2 6, Froedge 5-13 7-7 19, B. Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Halatt 6-9 1-4 14, Madden 3-5 0-2 6, Liles 0-0 0-0 0, Guffey 0-0 1-2 1, Brookbank 0-0 0-0 0, Appleby 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 25-59 13-26 68.

TRI (46)

Jeffries 1-2 2-2 5, E. Davis 4-9 3-4 12, Thomas 0-1 0-0 0, Falck 1-6 0-0 2, Riggs 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 2-5 0-0 5, Stephens 1-1 3-3 5, Williams 1-2 0-0 3, Hill 1-2 0-0 2, Murphy 3-7 0-0 6, Stevens 1-8 0-0 2, Pierce 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 17-47 8-9 46.

Blue River`22`10`21`15`-68


3-point goals – Blue River 5 (Froedge 2, Klein, Thornburgh, Halatt), Tri 4 (Jeffries, E. Davis, Smith, Williams). Rebounds – Blue River 38 (Klein 13), Tri 23 (E. Davis 7). Total fouls – Blue River 16, Tri 20. Turnovers – Blue River 14, Tri 22. JV score – Blue River 50 (Dunn 23), Tri 42. Records – Blue River 2-1, Tri 0-3.