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Rivet becomes 11th team to win county titlePosted Monday, January 12, 2009, at 9:21 PM
SWITZ CITY -- For Vincennes Rivet and coach Tim Vieke, the third time became very charming, if not magical, as the Patriots defeated defending champion Shakamak 69-54 here Saturday night to win the 39th annual Greene County Invitational championship.
The Patriots were third in 2006 and runner-up in 2007 and 2008.
"We were hoping that the third time would be the charm," said Vieke. "We had lost the last two and we knew that Shakamak had virtually everybody back from that team last year. They are a very talented basketball team.
"I was very proud of how we played." The Patriots destruction of Shakamak, don't be fooled by the final score, was eerily similar to Rivet's 87-78 loss to Shakamak in last year's title game.
"They destroyed us in the first half," Vieke said of that loss a year ago when the Lakers made 12 of 14 shots in the first quarter and cruised to its first county championship since 1982 and fourth in school history. The nine-point difference in 2008 was a lot like the 15-point margin Saturday, not indicative of how dominant the winner was.
The Patriots led 11-6 after the first quarter and pushed its cushion to 33-15 at intermission Saturday on 14 of 28 shooting.
"We know that Shakamak is so talented," said Vieke. "We were concerned that they could come out and hit us like they did last year.
"But we hit several threes early, which got us going. The funny thing is that we haven't shot the three very well this season. I think it was just our night and our time."
Even though Shakamak leading scorer Billy Newton finished with 22 points on 11 of 17 shooting, Vieke said he was pleased with their defense, which limited the Lakers to 35 percent shooting in the opening half.
"We have probably played more zone this year than we have in the past," said Vieke. "But we still use our man-to-man as our staple.
"I thought we did a good job of defending, especially in the first half. When Newton got the ball in the paint, we were able to converge on him and make him have to work for his points. That is all you can do with a player as talented as he is."
Vieke and his Patriots, who have started the season at 9-1 with their three victories here last week, really love the GCI, which has now had 11 different teams win in the nearly four decades of the tournament.
"We use this tournament as preparation for the sectional," said Vieke. "To win it, you have to play three good games in four or five nights, just like you do at the sectional.
"It is extra special to come over here and win it."
The all-invitational team consisted of Newton, Kendall and Tyler Vieke and Mitchell Bahr of Rivet and Davis Russell of Eastern Greene.
All of the coaches said this would likely be one of the most unpredictable Greene County Invitationals and it turned out to be that.
Not that I am surprised that Rivet won, actually they were due. The rest of the field has been somewhat of a mystery as we make the turn at the midway point of the boys basketball season with the sectional in site.
Defending Class A sectional champion Shakamak has looked good and bad and very little in-between. They played just well enough to beat Linton-Stockton and not very well against South Knox and in the second Sullivan game and against Rivet. But as somebody told me once, "when you shoot good, you look good."
It will be interesting to see if the Lakers and coach Steve Brett can get on the same page in 2009.
If I had a power ranking for the six area teams, I am not so sure that I would not put Eastern Greene at the top. The Thunderbirds appear to be buying into what coach Andy Igel is selling.
They are playing hard and together. They are more athletic than you think and defensively they are showing improvement. Zack Ingram really gives that team an extra gear in the post.
They are .500 (6-6), young and hungry and will likely only get better.
WRV could easily be 7-2 instead of 4-5 after a 48-42 loss to Eastern Greene in the consolation game of the county tournament Saturday.
But the Wolverines, who have a interesting mix of talent in the back court and youth up front, have yet to buy into the fact that defense and team play wins championships. They are certainly good enough to win the local Class A sectional played on their home floor, but as with every team around, only time will tell.
Bloomfield, the only area team that doesn't compete at the GCI, has been up and down more than the stock market. With Ron McBride in charge and their style of play, the Cardinals will always have the capability to compete and be a tough out for anyone.
But I get a different feeling about their 6-6 record compared to the same record for EGHS.
Linton-Stockton (2-7) and Union (Dugger) (1-8) met for seventh place Saturday, with the Miners winning 53-42. The Bulldogs were competitive, but lost its sixth straight game.
They will meet again in two weeks -- Tuesday, Jan. 27 -- at Linton-Stockton.
Both teams have some good individual players, but have struggled on the defensive end of the court.
So what does all of this conjecture mean? Not much in the grand scheme of things.
There are some good players and great coaches in the area. It will be interesting to see who can push the right button over the next two months and the calendar turns to February and March.
Good luck to all.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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