Blazers burn their way past Stars for berth in Bush Classic final

BNL’s Brayton Bailey powers to the rim against University’s Camden Brown. Bailey scored 14 points, but the Trailblazers stopped the Stars 45-39 to advance to the final in the Danny Bush Classic.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – With a chance to win its pool in the newly-christened Danny Bush Classic, Bedford North Lawrence found the water too turbulent in the deep end.

The Stars, struggling with the defensive current against unranked Class 2A surprise University, got swept away as the Trailblazers completed their run to the title game with a 45-39 victory in the third round on Saturday afternoon.

University’s spirited backcourt of Max Greenamoyer and Joe Martin scored 15 points each, and BNL (5-5) struggled for offensive flow and continuity, failing to break 40 for the second time this season.

The Trailblazers (8-2) advanced to face Class 4A No.8 Fishers (10-0) in the championship of the eight-team tournament, while BNL fell into third in its pool and will face New Palestine (2-5) in the consolation round at 7:45 p.m.

That’s little consolation for the Stars, who could not crack University’s defensive barriers. When the Blazers opened the fourth quarter with a 10-3 spurt to pull away, BNL was not equipped to rally. Not this time. Not when the quickness edge and executional advantage was with the opponent.

“They’re a hard team to play from behind,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “You have to play them with the lead, and we weren’t able to do that.”

BNL’s Ben Cosner muscles his way past a defender. Cosner scored 8 points.

Leading is always preferred. So is scoring, and BNL didn’t do enough of that. Brayton Bailey was limited to 14 while Trey Mollet had 11. But after the Stars ended the first quarter with a 7-0 burst to a 14-12 edge, after Bailey connected on a free throw for an 18-17 edge midway through the second, BNL never nosed in front again.

The Stars were certainly in position, after ending the third with an 8-0 run to a 30-30 deadlock. But University controlled the next six minutes while BNL got water up the nose and sputtered.

“They did a good job of taking our stuff away,” Hein said. “And we need other guys to step up. I’ve said that time and time again, like a broken record. We have to have guys pull the trigger. That’s the key.”

BNL had moments. Mollet swished a trey, Colten Leach turned a turnover into a layup, and Bailey drove through traffic for a basket to end the first.. Down 30-22 at a timeout with 6:03 left in the third, BNL shut out the Blazers for the rest of the frame as Ben Cosner rebounded his own miss, busted a 3-pointer, and Bailey gathered a lob for a layup to force the 30-30 stalemate.

University took BNL to school from that point. Greenamoyer slashed for a basket, then fed Jacob Sager for a layup. Martin scored from the lane twice, then dished off to Korey Ash-Simpson for a layup and the 40-33 lead that would be enough.

BNL’s Colten Leach fights with University’s Sam Mervis for a rebound.

“They exposed our weaknesses,” Hein said. “We don’t defend the ball very well. We had spells we couldn’t score. We can’t have those lulls.”

Bailey was a pedestrian 6-of-16 from the floor, Mollet had 3 treys, and Cosner came off the bench to score 8. Too often, the Stars got a little lost as University took away their main options.

“Team defense,” University coach Brandon Lafferman said. “We switched a lot of screens and stuck with it. Our guys did a good job of taking Bailey’s strengths away, so it was a team effort.”

BNL failed to contain Greenamoyer (four 3-pointers) and Martin, who were a combined 10 of 15.

“Our goal was to win the pool,” Lafferman said. “We knew all three games would be tough. We took care of that, now we know it will be a big-boy team in the final. We’ll just ride the wave in there and see what happens.”

In other third-round games:

Bloomington North 61, New Palestine 47: Isaac Vencel scored 15 points for the Cougars and Jeremiah Blair added 11. Maximus Gizzi had 20 points for the Dragons.

Milan 57, Evansville Harrison 54: Carter Wade had 21 points and Peyton Wert added 19 as the Indians rallied from an 8-point halftime deficit. Jordan Guzman had 14 points for the Warriors.

Fishers 58, Scottsburg 44: Jeffrey Simmons and Isaac Farah scored 12 points each as the Tigers completed their sweep through Pool B. Nick Sebastiao had 13 for the Warriors (5-5).

BNL’s Trey Mollet rises for a jumper. Mollet scored 11 points.

UNIVERSITY TRAILBLAZERS (45)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

30 Korey Ash-Simpson, f 0-0 2-2 0-1 5 3 4

20 Camden Brown, f 0-1 0-4 0-0 7 2 0

10 Sam Mervis, g 1-2 2-5 4-5 1 0 9

11 Max Greenamoyer, g 4-5 5-7 1-2 2 2 15

22 Joe Martin, g 1-2 5-8 4-5 1 2 15

21 Josh Sager 0-0 1-3 0-0 4 3 2

3 Aaron Stallings 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

15 Larry Pierce 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-10 15-29 9-13 21 12 45

BEDFORD NL STARS (39)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 2-3 0-1 3 5 4

13 Kooper Staley, g 0-2 0-3 0-0 1 3 0

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-2 6-16 2-6 4 3 14

1 Trey Mollet, g 3-6 4-11 0-0 2 1 11

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 1-2 0-0 4 2 2

11 Ben Cosner 1-2 3-7 1-2 4 2 8

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

Totals 4-12 16-42 3-9 23 16 39

University 12 12 6 15 – 45

Bedford NL 14 6 10 8 – 39

Turnovers – University 7, BNL 5

Field goal percentage – University 15-29 (.517); BNL 16-42 (.381)

Free throw percentage – University 9-13 (.692); BNL 3-9 (.333)

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