BNL sets school record but
falls 3 shots shy of qualifying
for IHSAA state championship
MONTGOMERY – Asked to play its best in the tournament marked as the ultimate challenge, Bedford North Lawrence exceeded expectations. It was almost good enough.
The Stars shattered the school scoring record with a sizzling team total of 322 during the IHSAA regional at Country Oaks on Saturday afternoon, but they came up one spot short in their quest to qualify for the state finals for the first time since 1985.
For senior Bailee Gilmore, her best was better than almost all the rest. She carded a 1-over 73 to earn one of the individual spots reserved for the two state championship rounds at Prairie View on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. But the Stars finished fourth in the 18-team field, just three shots away from their goal, and that’s the most agonizing finish of all. So close.
Yet BNL did all it could. When the school mark is smashed by 15 shots, when sophomore Carly Stigall cards a career-best 79, there was little left out on the course.
“We came down here and they brought their best,” BNL coach Aaron Sanders said. “Not everybody can do that. It took a lot of guts to do what we did today. I’m real proud of them. They’re a bunch of gamers. They brought their A game today. It would have been nice to have been a few shots better, but shooting 322 we’re certainly happy with that. That’s a great number for this team.”
For Gilmore, the round was vindication and validation. She had played below her expectations and talent level last season during the same event, and she came into her final chance with some questions about her recent form. She answered those with a powerful birdie on the first hole, the springboard to a front-nine 34 that includes 3 birdies.
If she got a little scorecard gun shy on the back nine, it’s understandable. Gilmore admitted to some anxious moments as she started looking ahead to the conclusion, but she hung on.
“I knew I had it going, although I almost let it go,” said Gilmore, who followed in the footsteps of former teammate Kennedy Holtsclaw (2014) as a state finalist. “But I felt pretty comfortable. It felt good to have one of those days again.”
Gilmore added birdies on the 6th and 9th holes.
“It’s nice to see her hard work pay off,” Sanders said. “She got off to a great start, and the next thing you know she’s under par. She just played real solid.”
Stigall had her birdies on the back nine (11 and 15) while Taylor Norman tamed the 1st and 4th en route to an 82. Taylor Chase birdied the 14th and completed the BNL scoring with an 88.
No.2 Evansville North won its third consecutive regional title, carding 296 (one shot shy of the regional record). North’s Hadley Walts was the medalist with a 72, and she birdied the first playoff hole against Evansville Mater Dei’s Sophie Rohleder (who had five birdies during the regulation round) to win that honor.
No.18 Evansville Memorial was second with 311, and Mater Dei made it an Evansville team sweep of the three qualifying spots by finishing third with 319.
Video courtesy of Aaron Harrell