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Barr-Reeve wins Sectional Championship victory over Orleans

Feb. 3—MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve Lady Vikings turned the what should have been impossible dream into reality on Saturday night.

The 13-12 Vikings defeated No. 4 Orleans (20-4), 33-27 to garner their first sectional title since 2015.

B-R had to beat three teams that had each defeated them during the season to claim the title, including two teams ranked in the top nine.

Both the semi-final and final were incredibly low-scoring affairs, but the Lady Vikes responded with some of their best defense all season.

Hannah Bledsoe led with basically half of the team points with 16.

Ava Carter added six and Elle Knepp had five, along with three each from Olivia Emmons and Willow Thompson.

Thompson's three were the final three of the game for B-R.

The win gave Lacey Higgins her first title in her third year as the Viking head coach.

"We were 'The Avengers.' We avenged three losses this week. Every coach wants their team to be playing their best basketball at the end of the season and we are," said Higgins.

"Hannah, Ava, Willow, and Elle coming off the bench, were tremendous for us. Hannah had a tough start to the year, but she is doing everything for us right now."

The Lady Dogs were up just 4-0 three minutes into the game, but forced eight turnovers during that stretch. B-R's Bledsoe tied the game in the final minute of the quarter, as Orleans had turnover problems of its own and the teams went into the second quarter tied at 4-4.

Orleans was able to extend it to 7-4, however Knepp added a free throw to keep it close. The game remained low-scoring with Orleans taking a 9-5 lead in to the final 2:00 of the half, however, Bulldog Mylie Knight added the next five points. Bledsoe picked up a pair of baskets, making all four baskets of the half for B-R, to cut the half-time lead 15-9.

The half remained scoreless for the first five minutes of the third until Bledsoe connected on a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 15-11, but Orleans would get one back with a free throw, Knepp would use her speed to race off to a lay up that ended the half, as B-R closed the gap to 16-13. Knepp's bucket was the only one of the quarter by either team.

Emmons then tied the game with the Vikings' first triple of the night to turn it into a seven-minute contest. Bledsoe continued to be huge on the boards with blocks and rebounds, along with baskets from Bledsoe and Carter that put Barr-Reeve up 20-16 with 3:40 left in the game. Orleans finally got its first basket. But Knepp responded to keep the lead at four.

Bledsoe continued to be perfect from the line and B-R's lead grew to 28-24. Carter added a transition basket to make it 30-24, but Chelsea Ralph kept it close with a 3-pointer and cut it to 30-27 with less than :15 left in the game.

Thompson would add three more free throws and the Vikes would walk away with the improbable 33-27 sectional title.

Orleans got eight each from Knight and Ralph, but were hurt by 5-14 shooting from the free throw line and 18 turnovers.

B-R's Regional opponent will be Lanesville and they will play in the second game at Crawford County, Washington and Gibson Southern will play at 1 p.m.