Stars facing tough challenge
during trip to face 2-0 South
By Justin Sokeland
Driving and navigating the main highways in Monroe County, now a mess of traffic cones, speed limits and heavy equipment, is a challenge of patience and planning. Leave a little early, expect some problems, stay focused.
That also describes Bedford North Lawrence’s journey to Bloomington South on Tuesday night. The unbeaten Stars, ranked No.13 in Class 4-A, are facing their first real road test against a quality opponent, and it’s a trip that could – with one wrong turn – be an accident waiting to happen.
The Panthers (2-0) have always been difficult to conquer, even though BNL has won five straight in the series. None of those victories came with style points.
“They’ve always played us tough,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. ‘We’ve gone up there with some good basketball teams and barely got out of there with some wins. So it’s not a easy place to win. They’re going to be ready to compete.”
What makes South a stickler? The Panthers are usually a reflection of coach Larry Winters – disciplined, determined, unfazed, physical. They will not back down.
South started with a 42-21 triumph over Edgewood, but it’s more impressive win was a 49-43 conquest of Jeffersonville on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers are paced by sophomore guard Addy Blackwell (16.5 points per game) and a veteran cast that will not play in fear of the Stars.
“Larry’s teams are always very disciplined,” Allen said. “They play extremely hard and they execute. Their guard play is really solid. We have to go up and play well. If we don’t, it will be a struggle.”
One thing South lacks is interior size, and that means BNL sophomore Jorie Allen (22.0) could be the interior answer. She had plenty of support last week against Mitchell, when the Stars finally caught fire on the offensive end and torched the Bluejackets with 10 treys during a 62-point blowout win.
The Stars, who had shot only 35 percent while winning their first two at home, sizzled at Mitchell hitting 31 of 47 shots.
“We’re starting to shoot the ball well,” Allen said. “I think this group can score, and Saturday night was what I’ve envisioned with this team. They all can stroke it. If we can start doing that on a consistent basis, it will make us difficult to defend.”
Kennedy Bunch, who broke out of her early-season slump with 19 points at Mitchell, is averaging 11.3 while steady junior point guard McKenzie Messmore is totaling 10.0.
BNL at BLOOMINGTON SOUTH
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: BNL 3-0, ranked No.13 in Class 4-A; Bloomington South 2-0
Last meeting: Last year at BNL, Jorie Allen scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while powering the Stars to a 43-34 win. Addy Blackwell and Cherise Otter had 9 points each for the Panthers.
Game notes: BNL has won five straight in the series. The Stars are 29th in the state in scoring at 66 points per game while South is allowing only 32 points per game.
BNL starting lineup
F – Allie Crulo-Rood 5-7 Jr.
F – Jorie Allen 6-1 So.
F – Kennedy Bunch 5-8 Sr.
G – McKenzie Messmore 5-6 Jr.
G – Jacy Hughes 5-5 So.
Bloomington South starting lineup
F – Megan Johnson 5-10 Sr.
F – Marina Blackwell 5-6 Sr.
G – Paige Gehlhausen 5-6 Sr.
G – Lauren Leal 5-7 Jr.
G – Addy Blackwell 5-4 So.