Defense dandy as Stars deck deliberate Owls 40-26

BNL’s Brayton Bailey finds room to score against Seymour on Friday night. Bailey had 13 points as the Stars shut down the Owls 40-26.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – A certain appreciation was required to enjoy the gritty, get-dirty – or in the case of Brayton Bailey, get the uniform splattered with blood – basketball display on Damon Bailey Court.

That floor was named for the guy who scored the most points in Indiana state history. That wasn’t happening Friday night. In fact, Bedford North Lawrence came within a basket of setting a school record for fewest points allowed. And for a team that just surrendered the most points of the season last time out, it deserved some applause.

BNL clamped down on Seymour, giving up little to a team that doesn’t sparkle on that end, during a tough 40-26 victory. Bailey scored 13 points and Kooper Staley added 10 as the Stars (8-8) improved to 3-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference.

The record Seymour narrowly avoided was 24, set by Loogootee during the 1981-82 campaign during an overtime win by Jack Butcher’s ultra-patient, stall-ball Lions. The Owls scored their fewest points since totaling only 26 during a first-round sectional loss to Floyd Central in 2017.

Part of that is Seymour’s style. Without a true scoring threat, the Owls depend on ball movement and supreme patience to probe, peer, possess and pick for high-quality looks. Part of that was BNL’s determination to defend as long as it took. The Stars won that battle within the war.

“I thought we played very well defensively,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “We knew it would be a slow-paced game, they’re really deliberate on the offensive end. We did a good job of playing team defense, helping each other out, talking on switches. We played as a team tonight and it was great to see.”

Highlights? Offensive ones? Very few. BNL did surge to a 10-2 lead, with Bailey driving through traffic twice, Ben Cosner converting a rebound, Jackson Miracle scoring off an inbound set, and Colten Leach scoring in transition. After that, buckets were as rare as pearls in a restaurant clam.

BNL’s Ben Cosner works for an opening. Cosner scored 9 points.

BNL missed its first seven shots of the second quarter before Cosner drained a corner trey. Bailey blasted the lane, and that was it as the Stars rumbled to the half with a 15-9 advantage. Seymour was doomed by 11 first-half turnovers.

“It certainly would have made a difference in the first half, probably the entire game,” Seymour coach Kirk Manns said when discussing the miscues. “I think Bedford did a great job of challenging us, fighting us, they were aggressive. We just didn’t respond to it.”

The Stars opened the third with seven straight points, with Staley floating though paint space for a bucket and Bailey dropping a 16-footer.

After BNL went to the fourth quarter with a 24-13 lead, the only drama was the record. Seymour did come to life as freshman Landon Fritsch scored three times, and his two late free throws pushed the Owls (5-8, 2-3) over the top.

Seymour hit only 10 of 31 shots and scored half its points in the final 8 minutes.

“They’re hard to play against,” Hein said. “They do a good job, they’re a good defensive team, that’s why they’re only giving up 44 per game. Bottom line, it came down to our defense winning the game. Defense can win a lot of games and it won one tonight. The kids took some pride on the defensive end. And that was critical.”

BNL junior Jackson Miracle had 6 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.

Fritsch finished with 12 points.

“Defense obviously wasn’t the problem, it was trying to score the basketball,” Manns said. “We didn’t get it done. They made it very difficult. I wish we had played better, but that’s the way it goes.”

Cosner added 9 points while Miracle grabbed 9 rebounds, giving BNL a 26-15 edge in that category.

BNL had other adversity. The game was delayed 27 minutes with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter when a BNL student fell to the floor under the BNL basket. He required medical attention and left the Fieldhouse on a stretcher.

The Stars also lost a player. Hein announced senior guard Trey Mollet left the team on Thursday night. Mollet had started 13 games and was averaging 10.2 points, after scoring 20 points at Jennings County last week.

BNL will host Edgewood on Saturday night.

BNL freshman Colten Leach is denied by Seymour’s Eric McCoy.

SEYMOUR OWLS (26)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

21 Casey Regruth, f 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 3 0

22 Drew Vehslage, f 0-0 2-2 0-0 2 1 4

13 Marcus Brooks, f 0-2 0-2 0-0 3 2 0

2 Colin Madden, g 0-1 1-2 0-0 2 1 2

5 Eric McCoy, g 2-7 2-10 0-0 1 1 6

44 Jayden Brown 0-1 1-4 0-0 1 1 2

20 Landon Fritsch 1-5 4-10 3-3 2 1 12

11 Aiden Goen 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 3-16 10-31 3-3 15 11 26

BEDFORD NL STARS (40)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 2-4 2-2 9 2 6

11 Ben Cosner, f 1-4 4-9 0-0 5 2 9

13 Kooper Staley, g 0-6 3-11 4-4 0 2 10

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-0 5-9 3-4 5 3 13

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 1-4 0-0 3 1 2

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

21 Zach Sasser 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 1-10 15-37 9-10 26 10 40

Seymour 7 2 4 13 – 26

Bedford NL 10 5 9 16 – 40

Turnovers – Seymour 13, BNL 11

Field goal percentage – Seymour 10-31 (.323); BNL 15-37 (.405)

Free throw percentage – Seymour 3-3 (1.000); BNL 9-10 (.900)

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