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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Devils stick a fork in Stars

BNL's Kennedy Bunch looks for help while facing defensive pressure. Jeffersonville clamped down on BNL's offense and ended a 9-game losing streak in the series with a 43-34 win.

BNL’s Kennedy Bunch looks for help while facing defensive pressure. Jeffersonville clamped down on BNL’s offense and ended a 9-game losing streak in the series with a 43-34 win.

Jeffersonville ends 9-game

losing streak to BNL with

dominating 43-34 victory

Box score

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

JEFFERSONVILLE – The scouting report was perfect, down to the last detail, but of course Jeffersonville had months to come up with a game plan to conquer its nemesis. This time, the Red Devils executed it, dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’ while erasing a frustrating losing streak.

Every move BNL made was countered, every play call was defended, every pet move was expected. The Red Devils could not have scripted it any better. And the Stars, suddenly reeling, could not have performed much worse.

Mike Warren guided the Red Devils (2-2) to their first win over BNL in his tenure.

Mike Warren guided the Red Devils (2-2) to their first win over BNL in his tenure.

In the midst of that perfect storm, Jeffersonville clamped down for a 43-34 victory on Saturday night in Johnson Arena, ending BNL’s 9-game winning in the series. Jaelyn Lee, one of two Jeff seniors who did not know what beating BNL felt like, scored 13 points and freshman Nan Garcia added 10 as the Red Devils (2-2 overall, 1-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) handed the Stars their second straight loss.

The Devils also stuck a fork in BNL’s aspirations of reclaiming the league title. BNL (4-2, 1-1) is certainly not done, but now BNL’s aura of near-invincibility in the conference has vanished. The race is wide open.

Wide open? BNL shooters didn’t find much free space. When they did, they misfired at a scary rate. The Stars were a frigid 24 percent (11 of 45) from the field, and that won’t beat anyone, most certainly an opponent that has been ready for the moment since last year’s sectional final.

BNL sophomore Jorie Allen pulls up for a jumper in traffic. Allen was limited to 9 points and 9 rebounds.

BNL sophomore Jorie Allen pulls up for a jumper in traffic. Allen was limited to 9 points and 9 rebounds.

“It’s nice,” Jeffersonville coach Mike Warren said of the skid-busting triumph, “because they’ve won five sectionals in a row. The best part was our two seniors who have lost to them all six times, to look them in the eyes and know it was an accomplishment.

“It’s November. It’s nice to beat them in November, but it would be way more important if we see them again in February and do it again.”

Jeffersonville dominated this one, rumbling to a 13-2 lead after the first quarter. Now overcoming that start is always possible with an offensive flurry, but that wasn’t happening. Not when BNL ballhandlers, with defenders camped on their right hand and daring them to dart left, were powerless. Not when Jorie Allen, surrounded in the paint by defenders waiting on her favorite spin move, was held to single digits for the first time.

Not when the Stars were 6 of 23 from long range, and half of those came in the final quarter.

“I think they did a good job defensively,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “I don’t know that we played extremely well, but they had something to do with that. We had opportunities to make shots, and we struggled. When they have three people running at Jorie, and we have open shooters and can’t make shots, we’re going to struggle offensively.”

BNL's Katie Fisher scans the court. The Stars shot a dismal 24 percent (11 of 45) from the floor.

BNL’s Katie Fisher scans the court. The Stars shot a dismal 24 percent (11 of 45) from the floor.

Jeffersonville reduced BNL’s offense to a mere shadow of itself. This wasn’t North Central’s smothering press causing panic, this was basic principles put in action.

“We prepare hard, and we have kids that listen, that are engaged,” Warren said, although it’s obvious who the architect was. “They think the game and talk the game. When kids do that, when they follow the scouting report, it’s pretty good.

“We did a nice job of taking their kids to places we wanted them to go., making them do things they were uncomfortable doing. We tried to make Jorie get to places where we could corral her. I watched her put that team on her back last year, and we weren’t going to let her do that. She did it last year in the sectional, and it wasn’t going to happen again.”

Allen, under constant guard, had 9 points and 9 rebounds. Kennedy Bunch had 8 points, all in the final quarter. BNL guards, and Allen went deep into the bench to find somebody who could make anything, were only 5 of 30.

“They sped us up,” Allen said, “In our minds, we were so sped up that we weren’t executing. We weren’t seeing the actual play that was there. You’re not in a normal rhythm, you’re not relaxed. They’re putting a lot of pressure on themselves.”

McKenzie Messmore drives against Jeffersonville's Jacinta Gibson.

BNL’s McKenzie Messmore drives against Jeffersonville’s Jacinta Gibson.

The other key stat was rebounding. The Devils blasted BNL, which outrebounded its first four foes by wide margins, on the boards by a 37-23 count. Reserve center Britney Epperson, an Australian by birth, had 8 rebounds, and BNL had very few second-shot chances.

“When we block out and go get it, there’s not a lot of teams that can do that,” Warren said. “These kids compete. It worked out well for us tonight.”

BNL will have some time to regroup before the next road trip, at Zionsville on Nov. 26, and they’re going to need it. The Stars had that shattered, frustrated, lack-of-confidence look, and Allen had the death stare of “What’s going on out there?” on the sideline.

“They’re an HHC opponent on the road, and they’re good,” Allen said. “This was a big game for them, and they played well. We have to come back from two tough losses, focus and get better.”