December 1, 2023

The parking lot was full and the gymnasium in Montgomery was standing room only as a crowd of about three thousand rabid basketball fans packed the Buggy Bowl to see one of the best rivalry games in the state. North Daviess took the short trip down 69 to visit Barr Reeve in a game that can only be described by one phrase, “Hoosier Hysteria.” This was Indiana basketball at its finest. The Barr Reeve Vikings held on for dear life behind 27 points from Hagen Knepp. The North Daviess Cougars fought their hearts out but fell just short yet again despite an amazing 29 points from Jaylen Mullen. As is usual between these two teams tensions were high and the basketball was tenacious.

Here’s how it all went down…

Game Recap and Photos

The crowd was frenzied as the opening tip was controlled by North Daviess and they took control early as 5’11 junior guard Jaylen Mullen was slicing and dicing through the Vikings man to man defense for some early easy buckets at the rim. The Cougars bounced back with some sweet shooting from 6’4 senior swing man Hagen Knepp. Remember these two names as they are going to be featured quite often throughout this article. At times it was the Knepp vs Mullen show. Although the Vikings came back after a slow start it was the Cougars taking the lead into the second quarter 14-10 behind a slick buzzer beating layup from Jaylen Mullen.

The second quarter belonged solely to the Vikings as Knepp began to take over. Not to be out shined by his teammate, 6’2 senior guard Kayden Graber poured in some timely 3 point baskets and a 4-point play that really got the home crowd going. The Cougars were able to stay close thanks to some great offensive rebounding but were never able to turn the corner. The Vikings used a 15-7 quarter to retake the lead and hold it going into halftime beating the Cougars 25-21.

The second half started just as the first half ended with great back and forth basketball leading to some great momentum for both teams. 6’0 senior guard Markus Britton took the mo back for North Daviess with a pair of beautiful 3’s to bring the Cougars back into the game. At one point it seemed as if the vikings were going to live or die by #34 Knepp and in the 3rd he was a bit off on his jumper. North Daviess used some great shooting and stifling defense to keep the Vikings at bay and came back to within 2 at 36-34 to end the third.

Sensing a theme here, the 4th quarter was all about Knepp and Mullen as the two took over their respective teams and traded baskets all the way down the stretch. Mullen came out of the gate with 4 quick points to take the lead for North Daviess. Knepp came back and knocked down some tough midrange jumpers as the lead just seemed to see-saw back and forth. The Vikings deployed a presuure trapping defense and were able to come up with a steal with 48.1 seconds left and Knepp was fouled on a shot and hit two free throws to tie it up. Neither team could close out the game in regulation as we head to overtime tied up at 44.

Overtime at the Buggy Bowl

Barr Reeve won the tip and slowed down the tempo to look for a great shot. They found that shot by who other than Hagen Knepp taking the lead at 46-44 with 2:50 left to go. Again, not to be outdone Jaylen Mullen tied it back up with a slick runner in the paint with 2:25 left. The two teams would continue to trade baskets. Both teams would pick up fouls and hit 1 of 2 free throws and the game would be tied yet again at 49 with 1:11 left. Mullen picked up a key floater but with all the attention on Knepp, Kayden Graber knocked down a huge 3 and hit 1 of 2 ft to close out the game for the Vikings.

WHAT. A. GAME.

Author’s Note:

This was my first time stepping into the hostile grounds in Montgomery for the Buggy Bowl and let me tell you this game lived up to all the hype. These two teams and their fan-bases left everything they had in that gym Saturday night and it was a joy to watch. As an avid basketball enthusiast this was heaven for me. To put it quite simply, THIS IS INDIANA BASKETBALL, and this is what the sport is all about. Amazing game in and even more incredible environment!

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