Lions muzzled, Bailey roars on Senior Night for streaking Stars

BNL senior Brayton Bailey looks for a way to get past Loogootee’s Landon Harder. Bailey scored 29 points as the Stars celebrated Senior Night with a 51-33 win over the Lions.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – When Brayton Bailey finally departed, with a sore nose and a soft smile, his father was waiting on the sideline. The hug was long, warm, as the dad-son duo embraced history.

On his Senior Night, his final appearance on Damon Bailey Court, Bailey exited in style, and Bedford North Lawrence capped the home part of the schedule with another impressive, defense-dominated victory.

Bailey scored 29 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, powering the streaking Stars to a 51-33 thumping of Class A No.4 Loogootee on Tuesday night. BNL (13-8) won its sixth consecutive game, ending Loogootee’s seven-game run while limiting the Lions (15-4) to their lowest offensive output this season.

With his first basket of the fourth quarter, a Damonesque move with a rebound and coast-to-coast burst for a layup, Bailey jumped over Kent Moutardier into second place on the school’s career scoring list. He now has 1,487 points, with only Damon left to catch.

That ain’t happening. The state record of 3,134 will likely be safe for generations. But for this second-generation son, with the weight of a legacy on his shoulders for a four years, second place isn’t too bad.

“This is how I would want to end it,” Bailey said when the emotional night concluded.

This is how the Stars would end it as well, with another win that was all about stout defense. Loogootee, playing without leading scorer Jordan Wildman for the second straight game while he recovers from a bone bruise, was methodical and probing, yet the Stars never broke down.

Loogootee, playing in BNL Fieldhouse for the first time since the Jack Butcher era, tried to be that patient. The Stars would not yield. The Lions didn’t hit double-digits in any quarter until the last. Way too late by then.

BNL freshman Colten Leach drives last Loogotoee’s Jalen Wildman. Leach had 7 rebounds.

“We’ll take that any night,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “Our defense continued to play well. A good, solid defensive effort.”

With all the anticipation of the Bailey ascension on the list, he wasted little time to get that out of the way, converting two 3-point plays in the opening quarter as BNL rumbled to a 15-6 lead. Then the board-and-blast to a twisting, left-handed layup at full speed to bounce past Moutardier.

”Nobody else can say that,” Brayton said of the family 1-2 punch. “It’s something we can share forever. It helps me know how much of an impact he and my sisters had at BNL.”

Colten Leach’s baseline basket gave the Stars a 26-14 advantage at the half, and Bailey kept churning in the third. BNL worked 1:43 off the clock before breaking him loose for a mid-range jumper, and he followed with a steal for a layup and lob from Ben Cosner for another as BNL surged to 36-18 command.

Then it was about setting up the senior farewells. First, Zach Sasser, who got a start and earned praise for his defensive work in the post. He left with 3:18 left, to chants of “Diesel” from the student section.

BNL’s Kooper Staley checks for an available pass. Staley scored 6 points.

Then Bailey, with 1:04 left, getting the handshake and back slap from Hein and the hug from Damon, with whispered words only the pair will ever know.

The only bump on the night? The whack to the nose Bailey took in the first half, causing him to stay on the floor for extended seconds before BNL trainer Nick Laydon made his way out to check on the kid. He shook off his watery eyes to make both free throws.

“I knew they were going to be physical,” Bailey said. “I think we did a good job of playing with them and did a good job of stopping anything they got in the middle. We did a good job of playing tough.”

They were tough on the other end, with Sasser and others keeping the lane clogged, with shooters covered when close-outs were necessary. The Lions hit only 10 of 29 shots. Peyton Bledsoe, a promising freshman, had 10 points, while 6-6 post man Silas Bauer had 7.

Bailey, meanwhile, was 11 of 15, including a rare 3-pointer. Jackson Miracle added 7 points, while Cosner and Kooper Staley totaled 6 each.

“They had no way to stop him,” Hein said. “A good way for him to end things at home.”

BNL’s triumph was also a good way to end things in BNL Fieldhouse. The winning streak matched last year’s longest run. It’s been since 2011 since the Stars have won seven in a row.

“It’s great,” Hein said. “How long has it been? That’s good to see.

“We’re hoping we have at least four more games. We’d like to play a little longer than that. There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played, even though they are someplace besides the Fieldhouse.”

The road to the finish line starts Friday, when the Stars visit Brownstown.

Brayton Bailey gets checked out by BNL trainer Nick Laydon.

LOOGOOTEE LIONS (33)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

21 Silas Bauer, f 0-0 1-3 4-10 5 1 7

22 Landon Harder, f 1-2 1-4 0-0 4 4 3

33 Peyton Bledsoe, g 2-7 3-10 2-2 2 2 10

20 Jalen Wildman, g 0-4 2-8 0-0 0 2 4

30 Luke Nonte, g 0-0 1-1 2-2 3 2 4

13 Jace Walton 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

32 Nathaniel Hart 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 2 2

10 Conner Hedrick 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Totals 4-15 10-29 9-14 15 15 33

BEDFORD NL STARS (51)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 1-3 2-4 1-4 2 1 6

21 Zach Sasser, c 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 4 0

13 Kooper Staley, g 1-1 2-2 1-2 2 2 6

22 Brayton Bailey, g 1-1 11-15 6-8 8 2 29

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 1-4 0-0 7 2 2

31 Jackson Miracle 0-0 1-2 5-6 1 2 7

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

12 Kaedyn Bennett 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 1

5 Dylan Nikirk 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 3-5 17-27 14-22 22 13 51

Loogootee 6 8 4 15 – 33

Bedford NL 15 11 10 15 – 51

Turnovers – Loogootee 8, BNL 6

Field goal percentage – Loogootee 10-29 (.345); BNL 17-27 (.630)

Free throw percentage – Loogootee 9-14 (.643); BNL 14-22 (.636)

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