Bedford North Lawrence Girls Basketball

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Big 3 will trump lack of 3s

Dominique McBryde and the BNL seniors will take center stage as the Stars chase their third straight Class 4-A state title.

Dominique McBryde and the BNL seniors will take center stage as the Stars chase their third straight Class 4-A state title.

BNL’s senior stars ready

to fill void left by departed

shooters in the backcourt

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

All summer long, the same burning question, posed by hand-wringing, frowning worry warts, swirled around the Bedford North Lawrence basketball program. “Who is going to shoot 3-pointers next season?”

Hardy_Har_Har_301For the best sound effect, picture the inquiry in the cartoon voice of ancient and always-negative Hanna-Barbera character Hardy Har Har – “Oh dear, oh my” – or the shrill shrieking of Prissy, Scarlett O’Hara’s maid in Gone With The Wind. (If those references are dated, try Youtube).

Suppose for a moment, for the sake of argument, that question is the most important issue confronting the Stars as they prepare to chase their third consecutive Class 4-A state championship. The graduation of backcourt starters Brittani Rizzi, who finished third in state history with 279 career treys and third in school history with 1,138 points, and Sammy Dillman, who drilled several clutch bombs during her stint as the club quarterback, did create a void.

Brittani Rizzi rises to launch a 3-pointer against Madison. Rizzi hit four bombs and scored 14 points as BNL blasted Class 3-A No. 6 Madison 73-28 on Saturday.

Brittani Rizzi

Last season, the Stars hit 156 3-pointers and shot a torrid 40 percent from that range. Rizzi buried 79, Dillman totaled 39, and reserve Whitney Wilson added 17. The rest of this year’s returning cast combined attempted only 39.

The Rizzi Phenomenon was real. Opposing coaches constantly talked about “picking your poison” with the BNL inside-outside attack, and they usually chose to take away Rizzi with a person-on-person defensive strategy, rather than zone the middle to clog the path for Jenna Allen and Dominique McBryde. Without that threat, BNL expects to run into zone, after zone, after zone.

Cue Chicken Little. “The sky is falling!”

Oh ye, of little faith.

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: BNL sets roster for 2014-15

Jeff Allen was named the new head coach of the Bedford North Lawrence girls program on Thursday night.

New coach Jeff Allen and the Bedford North Lawrence girls will make their public debut in the scrimmage at Bloomington North on Nov. 6.

Bedford North Lawrence will mix in three promoted newcomers with its seven returning veterans for new coach Jeff Allen’s 2014-15 varsity roster.

The three returning starters (seniors Dominique McBryde, Jenna Allen and Alexa Bailey) and four reserves (juniors Loren Bailey, Erin Bradley, Kaitlyn Poole and Abbie Price) will comprise the nucleus for the two-time defending Class 4-A state champions.

BNL varsity roster

The rest of the cast will include junior Katlyn Eagan, sophomore Kennedy Bunch (who both played on last year’s junior varsity) and freshman McKenzie Messmore.

BNL will make its public debut on Nov. 6 in the IHSAA scrimmage at Bloomington North, then celebrate last year’s title with the hanging of the new state championship banner prior to the annual soap-and-towel intrasquad scrimmage on Nov. 8.

The Stars will start the regular season on Nov. 15 at county rival Mitchell.

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Stars in triple-threat position

BNLs Alexa Bailey works on her ballhandling during Monday's opening practice for the 2014-15 season.

BNL’s Alexa Bailey works on her ballhandling during Monday’s opening practice for the 2014-15 season.

Three seniors, and third

head coach in three years,

gunning for title three-peat

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Jeff Allen’s phone rang on Monday afternoon, and the caller – his predecessor as the girls basketball coach at Bedford North Lawrence – offered some advice. “You might want to think about a career change before you get started.”

Too late. Allen’s fate has been sealed. He crossed the point of no return on Monday afternoon.

Video: Stars start working on three-peat

The Stars, the two-time defending Class 4-A state champions, opened official practice for the 2014-15 campaign in BNL Fieldhouse, home of championship banners and supreme expectations. BNL, with three All-State seniors and Division I recruits returning for another run at the crown, is locked in triple-threat position for a historic three-peat.

BNL schedule

BNL coach Jeff Allen

BNL coach Jeff Allen started his first season at the helm of the two-time defending champions on Monday afternoon.

No girls program has ever won three straight 4-A state championships, and no team of any classification has ever won three straight titles under three different coaches.

Damon Bailey was only joking – probably – with his friend and former assistant. He left to join the other former BNL coach with a newly-minted ring – Kurt Godlevske – on the women’s staff at Butler University. Those two combined to go 55-1 the last two years. Allen has moved over to the hottest seat in the state.

“You just inherit more headaches,” Allen said with a laugh. “I don’t know how hot it is. I’m following two great coaches, great basketball people. I just hope I can do them justice and continue what we started together several years ago.”

The difference? Allen wasn’t the heir of an intact team from last year’s championship. Two starters must be replaced, and the schedule has been stiffened significantly with the additions of North Central, Princeton, Center Grove, Evansville Central and Roncalli. All of those opponents have a hot college recruit on the roster – some more than one. Of course, BNL has three.

“This is a different team,” Allen said. “We have some of the same elements we’ve had the last two years and had great success, and we’ll continue to do some of the things we’ve done. But this is a different team. It’s all about the identity of this team and what these girls can achieve together.”

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Allen suffers hand injury

BNL's Jenna Allen works in the post. Allen scored 20 points and had 9 rebounds.

BNL’s Jenna Allen 

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence senior center Jenna Allen suffered a possible cracked bone in her left (non-shooting) hand during a recent open-gym workout.

Allen will wear a cast for 1-2 more weeks but will be on the court when the Stars, the two-time defending Class 4-A state champions, start official practice sessions on Monday for the 2014-15 season.

Under that timetable, she should be back at full strength when BNL opens the campaign at Mitchell on Nov. 15. The Stars also have scrimmages scheduled for Nov. 6 and Nov. 8.

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: McBryde, Allen in ESPN’s Top 100

BNL's Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen are ranked among the top recruits in the country by ESPN.

BNL’s Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen are ranked among the top recruits in the country by ESPN.

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence seniors Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen are listed in ESPN’s Top 100 recruits for the 2015 class.

McBryde, who has verbally committed to Purdue, is ranked No.28 with a five-star rating. Allen, who recently switched from Indiana University to Michigan State following the summer coaching change at IU, is ranked No.74 with a four-star rating.

Other Indiana players on the ESPN list include Columbus North’s Ali Patberg (Notre Dame, No.14), Merrillville’s Victoria Gaines (Michigan State, No.23), South Bend Washington’s Tiara Murphy (Purdue, No.30), Pike’s Brittany Ward (Butler, No.34), Lawrence North’s Lamina Cooper (Purdue, No.44), and Fort Wayne Canterbury’s Darby Maggard (undecided, No.89).

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Allen chooses Michigan State

Jenna Allen has worked to become a weapon at the free-throw line, where she's shooting 82 percent this season.

Jenna Allen has verbally committed to play for Michigan State.

BNL center verbally

commits to join

the Big Ten champs

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence senior Jenna Allen has verbally committed to play college basketball at Michigan State.

The Spartans were her second choice when she committed to Indiana University in August of 2013. She reopened her recruitment following the resignation of Curt Miller as the Indiana women’s coach.

Miller’s surprising departure on July 25 spurred Allen to rethink her position. She visited Michigan State over the holiday weekend and fell in love with the campus and the program.

“I just fell in love with the girls on the team and the whole campus,” she said. “I just love everything about it. I’m really excited.”

Allen waited to make her decision until after Indiana hired Teri Moren as its new coach. Allen talked with the Hoosiers and was targeted by Butler (with former BNL coaches Kurt Godlevske and Damon Bailey now heading that staff). But playing in the Big Ten was always her ultimate goal.

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: IU hires Moren as coach

Seymour native Teri Moren has been named the new women's basketball coach at Indiana University.

Seymour native Teri Moren has been named the new women’s basketball coach at Indiana University.

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana University has hired Indiana State’s Teri Moren, a Seymour native, as its new women’s basketball coach.

Moren succeeds Curt Miller, who unexpectedly resigned in July. Miller coached the Hoosiers for two seasons and went 32-32, including a 21-win campaign last year and a run to the WNIT semifinals, while rebuilding the program with good recruiting.

His departure pushed Bedford North Lawrence senior center Jenna Allen to reopen her recruitment.

Moren, a former Indiana All-Star who played at Purdue, is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Moren served as head coach at the University of Indianapolis and worked as the associate head coach at Georgia Tech.  She spent the last five seasons as head coach at Indiana State, leading the Sycamores to their first 20-win season in eight years.

Continue reading

Shortlink

BASKETBALL: IHSAA considering proposal

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will consider a proposed alteration to the state basketball tournaments during the October meeting of the Executive Committee.

The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, after completing a two-year study, has proposed keeping the current four-class system but trimming the 4-A level to the top 64 schools in terms of enrollment. They would be divided into 16 sectionals, with all the games in the four-team tournaments played on a Saturday.

The remainder of the schools would be split evenly into the remaining three classes and divided into 16 sectionals in each class. They will still compete on the Tuesday-Friday-Saturday format.

Under this proposal, Bedford North Lawrence, Jeffersonville, New Albany and Floyd Central (teams in the current six-team field at Seymour) would remain in 4-A, but Jennings County would be the team on the bubble (at No.65 in enrollment) and slip down to 3-A.

Columbus East, Seymour and Madison would also be in 3-A.

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Stars fill coaching spots

BNL assistant coach Brett Holtz talks with new freshman coach Mandy Schmahl, who played at South Dearborn and Hanover College.

BNL assistant coach Brett Holtz talks with new varsity assistant Mandy Harrell.

Harrell promoted to varsity

assistant’s position as Stars

prepare to defend their title

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

New head coach Jeff Allen did not have to look very far – about two seats down the bench – to fill an important vacancy on the Bedford North Lawrence staff.

Mandy Harrell, who served as the freshman coach last season during her first with the program, was promoted to varsity assistant. Jim Lewis was hired to step into the freshman position. With those holes plugged, the Stars can now focus on the task of winning an unprecedented third straight Class 4-A state championship.

Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen

Allen used comfort level and trust factor as part of the criteria for his choices. The move of Harrell into the second-in-command position is especially key.

“She’s a person that can not only help me while I’m here but can continue to help BNL basketball, and keep the tradition and progress we’ve made, going even when I’m gone,” Allen said. ”

“I think she has what it takes to be a really good high school coach. She has the demeanor and the basketball IQ. She played the game at a pretty high level, and you can just see, when she works on the floor with the kids, she does a good job of teaching basketball.”

Harrell was an academic All-State selection at South Dearborn in 2002 and an academic All-HCAC choice during her playing career at Hanover College. She also served as an assistant coach at Hanover. After a short stint at Jennings County, she has fit in perfectly with the Stars.

Continue reading

Shortlink

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Allen reopens recruiting

BNL's Jenna Allen has decided to reopen her recruitment.

BNL’s Jenna Allen has decided to reopen her recruitment.

BNL senior center waiting

on IU to hire new coach

before making her decision

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence senior center Jenna Allen has reopened her recruitment following the resignation of Curt Miller as the Indiana women’s coach.

Allen, one of the top centers in the Midwest, verbally committed to the Hoosiers in August of 2013. But Miller’s surprising departure on July 25 spurred Allen to rethink her position. She will wait on the Hoosiers to hire a new coach, but she will also listen to other offers.

“We’re not saying no to IU, but it’s a situation, going into her senior year, where we have to make sure it’s the right fit and have options in case it’s not,” said Jeff Allen, Jenna’s father and the new head coach at BNL. “We felt like we had done our homework, and Jenna felt IU was the best fit with Coach Miller. Obviously the variable has changed.”

Allen has been one of the key figures during BNL’s drive to back-to-back Class 4-A state championships. She averaged 14.9 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line last season.

Continue reading