Bailey soars, but Milan scores at will to stun Stars in tournament opener

BNL’s Brayton Bailey attacks the basket during the opening round of the BNL Holiday Tournament on Friday morning. Bailey scored a career-high 38 points, but the Stars suffered a stunning 73-67 loss to Milan.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – What, in the name of Bobby Plump, was that?

That was not Milan Miracle II. These Indians made their first visit to BNL Fieldhouse one for the history books, while Bedford North Lawrence was left wondering how a 2-5 team came in and embarrassed the host in the opening round of pool play in the BNL Holiday Tournament.

The answer was simple. BNL coach Jeff Hein lists three Es – energy, effort and enthusiasm – as critical to success. The Stars, outside of senior star Brayton Bailey and the unknown freshman who shot his way into playing time, had none. Add another E – easy defense to shred. Thus, the 73-67 loss on Friday afternoon.

Peyton Wert scored 21 points, one of four Indians in double figures, to pace Milan, which never trailed. Never. Milan coach Randy Combs proclaimed his crew better than their record, and they proved it. Rather emphatically.

Bailey was sensational, scoring a career-high 38 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Freshman sniper Kaedyn Bennett, not listed on the tournament program nor on any Milan scouting report, bombed in 12 (all from long range) and will undoubtedly earn a promotion. Even that wasn’t enough to rescue the listless Stars.

Milan shot a torrid 67 percent, against a program that prides itself on defense, against a team that was allowing only 51.9 per game, against a team that came in with the goal of surrendering 49 or fewer. Milan had that with 7 minutes left.

“It started from the very beginning of the game,” Hein said. ”We decided we weren’t going to guard anybody today. It was a continuous trend.”

BNL freshman Colten Leach glides through traffic for a shot.

Milan ripped to a 12-5 lead in the first 5 minutes, forcing Hein to a mass substitution in an act of searching for a spark. BNL did find its offensive groove, thanks to Bailey’s phenomenal performance (14 of 18 from the floor, including a trio of treys). But the Indians tore through BNL’s defense like the victors at Little Bighorn. BNL could not deflect all the arrows.

“We couldn’t get a tourniquet put on it,” Hein said. “It snowballed the entire game. They never came to life today, didn’t act like they wanted to be here.

“The sad thing is we’ve been playing well, we practiced well, and then it was a no-show this morning. We did not show up at all.”

Milan definitely did. The Indians drilled 5 3-pointers in the second quarter, including a buzzer blast by reserve Parker Lewis for a 34-26 lead at halftime, then delivered the key blow early in the fourth after BNL had battled within 49-46 on Colten Leach’s steal and layup.

The next two minutes doomed the Stars, a 9-0 Milan burst highlighted by Wert’s 3-point play and Josh Clark’s acrobatic lane spin. Enter Bennett, who buried three bonus bombs that powered BNL within 62-58. But a turnover led to a breakaway by Milan’s Carsyn Ascherman, ending the comeback threat.

”My guys are playmakers, and they made plays,” Combs said. “They competed. That was a big win for us.”

The loss overshadowed the effort by Bailey, who was unstoppable.

“My goodness gracious,” Combs said, shaking his head in awe. “He gets leverage on you, and you just can’t stop him.”

BNL’s Ben Cosner looks for an opening. Cosner scored 7 points.

BNL’s problem was a secondary source. Bailey and Bennett were a combined 7 of 15 from deep. The rest, a mere 1 of 12. BNL’s other issue was its extended defense, which got torched.

“We’ve got to get some players around Brayton,” Hein said. “We’ve got to get some help.”

Carter Wade added 12 points, Ascherman and Adam Norman totaled 10 for the Indians (3-5), who will now face University in the second round of pool play at 6 p.m.

BNL, suddenly shaken at 4-4, will battle Evansville Harrison (2-5) in the second round tonight at 7:45 p.m.

In other first-round games in pool play:

Bloomington North 86, Scottsburg 45 – Isaac Vencel scored 24 points and Nick Klaiber tallied 20 as the Cougars (7-0) blew out to a wide margin in the second half after working to a 33-23 lead at intermission. Nick Sebastiao had 14 points for the Warriors (5-3).

University 51, Evansville Harrison 43 – Max Greenamoyer hit five treys and scored 16 points for the Trailblazers (6-2). Terrence Ringo had 16 for the Warriors (2-5).

Fishers 74, New Palestine 55 – Jeffrey Simmons scored 17 points, one of four Tigers in double figures, as Class 4A No.8 Fishers (8-0) cruised. Maximus Gizzi had 22 for New Palestine (1-4).

BNL’s Jackson Miracle cant find a way past Milan’s Peyton Wert.

MILAN INDIANS (73)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

20 Adam Norman, f 1-1 2-4 5-6 8 2 10

2 Carsyn Ascherman, f 1-1 3-4 3-6 4 1 10

12 Carter Wade, c 1-2 5-7 1-2 3 2 12

22 Peyton Wert, g 1-2 8-11 4-5 4 3 21

5 Matt Riehle, g 0-0 1-2 0-1 1 4 2

23 Kaleb Rinear 0-0 2-3 4-4 1 1 8

1 Josh Clark 1-2 2-4 2-2 1 0 7

3 Parker Lewis 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

Totals 6-9 24-36 19-26 26 13 73

BEDFORD NL STARS (67)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 2-4 0-2 3 2 4

13 Kooper Staley, g 0-3 0-3 0-0 2 3 0

22 Brayton Bailey, g 3-4 14-18 7-9 10 4 38

1 Trey Mollet, g 1-7 1-7 1-4 0 1 4

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 1-2 0-0 1 5 2

5 Dylan Nikirk 0-1 0-1 0-0 2 2 0

21 Zach Sasser 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 0 0

11 Ben Cosner 0-1 2-6 3-4 2 2 7

20 Colton Staggs 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 0 0

12 Kaedyn Bennett 4-11 4-11 0-1 0 0 12

Totals 8-27 24-54 11-21 24 19 67

Milan 12 22 13 26 – 73

Bedford NL 7 19 14 27 – 67

Turnovers – Milan 12, BNL 9

Field goal percentage – Milan 24-36 (.667); BNL 24-54 (.444)

Free throw percentage – Milan 19-26 (.731); BNL 11-21 (.524)

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