The Brown County boys’ 71-57 win against West Vigo offered a morale boost heading into winter break Dec. 19.
The Eagles had started the season fairly strong, but came off two back-to-back losses to face the school that knocked them out of sectionals less than a year ago.
Eagles’ Head Coach Chuck Hutchins, as always, was focused on the game in front of him. Any symbolic element of beating West Vigo wasn’t even in his thoughts, he said.
“It was with my wife, I know,” he added. “She really wanted to win this one, and I think probably so for the kids, at least for the ones that were around last year.”
“It was a nice win,” Hutchins said. “And more than that, we got contributions from a lot of players, which is something we’ve been working on.”
Even with the greater team effort out on the court, senior Collin Hoskins still stood out for points scored at 30, leading both teams. He was followed by teammate junior Jordan Samples with 19.
The Eagles led the scoring early, with Hoskins nailing the first field goal straight out of the tipoff.
But even though the Eagles ended the game with a comfortable lead, the Vikings pressed them both early and late, and victory was far from certain for much of the game.
“We haven’t been pressed much this year,” Hutchins said. “So it just took us a few plays to be able to settle down, relax, know that we could beat their press for scores, and once we did a few times, we were OK.”
Leaving the first quarter trailing Brown County by eight points, West Vigo rallied and held the lead for several minutes into the second quarter.
The Eagles worked up another eight-point cushion by halftime, but felt the Vikings close at their heels heading into the second half.
Despite a three-point shot from Redmond, the Vikings still managed to eat away at the spread, shrinking it to a single point with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles began to retake the lead, and seconds into the fourth quarter, Hoskins and Samples executed back-to-back field goals less than 20 seconds apart, pushing their lead into double digits for the first time.
Still, West Vigo did not give up, and closed the spread to two points with six minutes left.
Hutchins call a timeout and pulled the team in for a huddle. A minute later, they were growing the spread again.
The Eagles kept their scoring distance the rest of the game, and with seven seconds on the clock, Samples put a final touch on their win with a 3-point shot.
“We’re still kind of figuring out who we are and what we can do,” Hutchins said regarding the team’s progress seven games into the season.
Coming up against the Vikings, the Eagles were 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the eastern section of the Western Indiana Conference.
“There’s been good and bad, but I do feel like the bad has led us to figuring out who we are,” he said. “Sometimes, a loss or two is good for you, and I think we’re turning those losses into learning opportunities and getting better.”