scores 27 points
as BNL holds off
Jeff’s late charge
By Justin Sokeland
JEFFERSONVILLE – The challenge, both physical and mental, brought to bear against Bedford North Lawrence demanded an immediate and perfectly-calculated response.
The Stars had the exact answer – find Jenna Allen.
The sophomore center scored 27 points, including key buckets to calm the Jeff storm in the fourth quarter, as Class 4-A No.5 BNL held off the Red Devils 62-46 Saturday night, starting the defense of its Hoosier Hills Conference championship with its first road win at Jeffersonville since the 2000-01 season.
Allen’s best night was complimented by Alexa Bailey’s 14 points and Dominique McBryde’s 13 as BNL
improved to 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the league.
Victory seemed assured, then had to be cemented. BNL cruised to a 21-point advantage late in the third quarter, then triggered an anxiety attack while the Red Devils (2-1, 0-1) went on an 18-2 burst that carved the difference to 47-42 with four minutes left.
The next three possessions were critical. Bailey knifed toward the bucket and spotted an open Allen, who scored while drawing a foul and completed the three-point play. Following a Sammy Dillman breakaway layup, Allen again broke open in the paint and Dillman delivered the pass for the basket that gave the Stars a 10-point edge.
From there, Bailey and Brittani Rizzi were perfect from the line to keep the Devils pinned down.
Their resolve was questioned during the Jeff blitz.
“Our kids were not happy about that, which is the first sign of a good team,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “The second thing is they knew where to go with the basketball. The two plays Sammy and Alexa made were great reads.”
Allen was a tremendous finisher. She was 12 of 14 from the field and wore a huge hole in the middle of Jeffersonville’s defense.
“She’s a big girl,” Jeffersonville coach Matt Pait said. “She’s hard to get around. We had a hard time fronting her, and when we played behind we didn’t push her out far enough to
make her make a move. She’s bigger than us, and she finishes really well. We did struggle with guarding post play.”
Allen credited her guards for getting her the ball in prime position.
“I just get open and they let me have it, “ she said. And that sounds simple enough.
BNL continued its torrid shooting while zipping in front. The Stars were 14 of 18 in the first half en route to a 32-20 lead, then cooled off (to a mere 60 percent) in the third quarter as the margin swelled to 45-24 and a blowout looked imminent.
The Devils responded with a physical defense that had BNL out of sync.
“It was taking the fight to them,” Pait said. “We could either come back and make it a game, or get blown out. We could compete, or lay down. I give our girls credit, they kept competing. I’m proud of them that we kept fighting.”
The Jeff run featured baskets by Haley Vogen, Emily Gray and Nichole Midgett (a 3-pointer that banked in from the wing). It was Vogen’s spin move on the baseline that capped the charge and cut the BNL lead to five.
“It was a challenge our guards needed,” Godlevske said. “It was a good learning experience for all our kids – not only to be able to handle that physical play, but to make adjustments in the flow of the game. To me, that’s how sectional basketball is played.”
Gray had 13 points and Midgett added 9 (all on treys). Vogen and Aurreeshae Hines had eight apiece. The Devils hope to get a second look at BNL in the sectional in February.
“It was a really good test,” Pait said. “For as young as they are, they’re experienced. I don’t think we gave them our best effort, but we fought the whole game. Hopefully we can see them down the road.”
If the Devils want a rematch, they’ll have to either grow taller or cut BNL’s interior players down the size. Allen and McBryde were a combined 18 of 21 shooting.
“Let’s face it,” Godlevske said. “We have two bigs that play together that maybe nobody in the state has. Our guards are starting to recognize how much of a help that can be.”
It’s the reason BNL hit 24 of 35 shots (68.6 percent) and overcame the 18 turnovers.