BNL continues its dominance
of county rival with crushing
83-21 blowout of Bluejackets
By Justin Sokeland
MITCHELL – Only one team looked pretty in pink.
Bedford North Lawrence and Mitchell, county rivalries that joined forces to raise money for cancer research, were on opposite ends of the color spectrum on Saturday night. The Stars were white hot, and the Bluejackets were left black and blue from all the damage BNL dished out.
The Stars, ranked No.12 in Class 4-A, wasted little time or energy while crushing Mitchell 83-21, the worst beating in the series since it became an annual event. That also represents the most points BNL has scored since burning Bloomington North for 87 two years ago, and it’s the biggest margin of victory since that 87-22 win over the Cougars.
The Bluejackets were 2-0 for the first time in 10 years, but that didn’t last long. BNL (3-0) exploded for a 13-0 lead that forced Mitchell coach Matt Sowders to call two timeouts during the first three minutes, and that was only the beginning. The Stars blasted to a 51-8 lead at halftime.
BNL never really let up, and that was by design. Playing to the level of the competition creates bad habits. The Stars forced the Bluejackets to rush in an attempt to keep up, but they could not.
“We were a little shell shocked,” Sowders said. “That’s the first time we’ve seen anything like that.”
That’s the first time anyone has seen anything like that offensive assault from BNL, which won its first two without consistency. These were the shooting Stars coach Jeff Allen envisioned. They combined to hit 10 treys, and sophomore force Jorie Allen scored at will in the paint, totaling 25 points. BNL was a torrid 31 of 47 overall.
“We started shooting the ball like I know we’re capable of doing,” Allen said. “I hope that continues to build. If we do that, it opens up so many things offensively. I need all those kids to be zeroed in.”
Allen had plenty of perimeter firepower around her. Kennedy Bunch, who was stuck in a slump during the wins over Mooresville and Seymour, broke out in explosive fashion, totaling 19 points while drilling five 3-pointers. She was hot, posing with the classic shooter’s form.
“It did help that it was the county rival, and I really wanted to win this game,” Bunch said, and that was never in doubt.
Allie Fugate, another sniper who needed to adjust the scope, also found her stroke, hitting three treys and adding 13 points. “The game plan against BNL is to pack it in and make them hit outside shots,” Sowders said. “That’s didn’t work out real well for us.”
Other factors were equally impressive. BNL was guilty of only 9 turnovers, and it dominated the glass 39-18. Defensively, the Stars forced as many turnovers (21) as Mitchell scored points. There were few lapses in judgment or effort.
“In my opinion, good basketball teams play at the same level, no matter who the competition is,” Allen said. “We had them a little overmatched. I wanted to come over here play well, not have a letdown. There was no taking plays off, which can happen. We didn’t do that.
“The most important thing is we can’t stray away from the level we play,” Bunch said. “We can’t play down to their level. Any team we play, we have to respect them. That’s the biggest thing going into any game, and especially this one. If we let our guard down, they could easily take advantage of that.”
Macy Robbins paced Mitchell with 8 points. BNL won its eighth straight in the series, and it has won those by an average of 44.4 points.
“A game like this exposes our weaknesses,” Sowders said. “I feel like we need to get a little tougher mentally. We’ll learn from it and get better. We have to learn to compete all the time. It’s a mindset we’re working on.”
BNL will visit Bloomington South on Tuesday.