BNL hasn’t won
By Justin Sokeland
Bedford North Lawrence will start the defense of its Hoosier Hills Conference title when the No.5 Lady Stars journey to Jeffersonville Saturday night.
The two programs represent the historic elite of the league. BNL leads the pack with 14 outright or shared conference crowns, while Jeffersonville is second with 13. Both have two state championships. And they are potential sectional opponents when the state tournament begins.
“It’s huge,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “It’s been a big game since I’ve been here, and it will continue to be a big game.”
The Red Devils (1-0) are regrouping after winning their 4-A state crown in 2010. Program architect Chad Gilbert left to coach the Jeff boys team, and his successor (Jana Costner) last only one year. Former Jeff player Matt Pait took over last summer and started to restore what last season’s disappointing 9-11 campaign took away.
“This is a new team,” said Pait, who was an assistant coach with the Jeff boys for four years. “We have to forget the past and move on. We’re just trying to be really positive. We’re just trying to coach basketball, teach the fundamentals. Hopefully we can build from there.”
Jeffersonville showed promise in its opener, rallying from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat North Harrison 72-57. Junior forward Haley Vogen (who averaged 11.6 points per game last year) had 22 points and 9 rebounds against the Cougars, while sophomore center Emily Gray had 20 points.
“We have to show them they are good, and they can win,” Pait said. “Once they figure that out for themselves, the sky is the limit. We’ll be very fundamentally sound. We’ll try to play to our strengths. Mainly my teams will play extremely hard.”
That approach will be tested against the Stars.
BNL (2-0) was brilliant in its last outing, thumping No.14 Mooresville 65-45. BNL sophomores Dominique McBryde and Jenna Allen combined to make all 13 of their shots, and the Stars strolled to a 16-0 lead before the Pioneers could pick up the pieces.
“For us to be able to handle them like we did, it’s a big statement,” Godlevske said.
BNL has some eye-popping stats in a small sample. Allen (14.5), McBryde (13.0), Brittani Rizzi (14.0) and Sammy Dillman (10.5) are all averaging double figures. The Stars are shooting 56.5 percent – including 50 percent from 3-point range. McBryde, Allen and Dillman are all shooting over 73 percent from the field.
But they are headed into a den of despair in recent years. BNL hasn’t left Jeffersonville with a road win since a 79-75 overtime decision during the 2000-01 season.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Godlevske said.
BNL swept two games from the Devils last year. BNL won the regular-season game 51-32, then cruised through the sectional opener at Seymour with a 59-45 win as Dillman scored 21 points. Vogen had 15 for the Devils.
Turnovers will be a vital stat. BNL, averaging 15 turnovers per game, wants to get into its rhythm, pound the ball inside first, and depend on its execution. Jeffersonville wants to create an uncomfortable tempo.
“They look like they’re one of the contenders,” Godlevske said. “They really get out and make it a fast-paced game. I think it’ll be key for us to take care of the basketball, take care of the Vogen girl. We have to keep them in front of us. They’re one of the more athletic teams we’ll face.”
BNL at JEFFERSONVILLE
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: BNL 2-0 (0-0 HHC), ranked No.5 in Class 4-A; Jeffersonville 1-0 (0-0 HHC, hosts Silver Creek Friday)
Series: Jeffersonville leads 21-19
Last meeting: BNL beat the Red Devils twice last year. The Lady Stars won the regular-season game 51-32 before bouncing Jeffersonville out of the first round of the sectional 59-45.
Game note: BNL and Jeffersonville have combined to win 27 HHC titles since the league started during the 1980-81 season.
BNL starting lineup
F – Dominique McBryde 6-2 So.
C – Jenna Allen 6-3 So.
G – Brittani Rizzi 5-7 Jr.
G – Alexa Bailey 5-7 So.
G – Sammy Dillman 5-6 Jr.
F – Haley Vogen 6-0 Jr.
C – Emily Gray 5-11 So.
F – Taylor Davis 5-6 Sr.
G– Aurreeshae Hines 5-5 Jr.
G – Nichole Midgett 5-2 Sr.