Stars go deep to conquer Corydon in regular-season finale

CORYDON – BNL’s Jackson Miracle battles for a rebound in the paint during Friday night’s clash with Corydon. The Stars concluded the regular season with a 72-62 victory.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

CORYDON – Corydon had everything – its Senior Night celebration, the emotional revelation of a kidney donation for an assistant coach in dire need of a miracle, and the halftime lead.

What it did not have was a finisher. Bedford North Lawrence had three of them, combining for a second-half surge to a grand finish for the regular season.

Kooper Staley was terrific from the perimeter, Brayton Bailey was a triple-sided weapon, and freshman Colten Leach exploded for a career night as the Stars shook off all of Corydon’s ulterior advantages for a 72-62 road triumph on Friday night.

Staley stroked 7 treys – his career high from long range – and scored 23 points, Bailey had his second triple-double, and Leach wiped aside that straggly mop top to bury two 3-pointers and score a career-high 14 points. That’s finishing in style.

BNL (15-9) rallied from an early 11-2 deficit, erased Corydon’s lead with a 12-0 burst in the third quarter, and shot its way to a wrap-up win with a season-high 11 treys. For a team that’s not known for its long-range marksmanship, for a group that has relied on Bailey for so much, this was the perfect way to roar into the postseason.

“Those guys stepped up,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “Again, we’re not a one-man show. We’ve got other guys that are pretty good players.”

CORYDON – BNL’s Brayton Bailey slides through defenders. Bailey scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists.

Bailey did damage, of course. Scoring 14 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists did a lot of scarring to Corydon’s 1-3-1 zone that focused on him. But when Staley, Ben Cosner and Leach (the kid had not hit one from deep all season) combined to hit four straight and rifle the Stars in front midway through the third quarter, BNL would not be caught.

“It was really important, especially Colten coming down and hitting two big shots,” Staley said. “He’s not really shooting the ball that much. It was really huge for our team. That gave us way more confidence. It felt like we could hit anything at that point.”

Leach didn’t miss, netting all four of his shots and adding 7 boards. Staley didn’t miss many, and his first one of the fourth – a corner dagger from Bailey, after Bailey had just set up Jackson Miracle for a layup on the previous possession – gave the Stars a 57-43 lead that was good enough.

Corydon coach Joseph Hinton pointed to the Bailey stat line as the key.

“Him scoring 14 is good, but him creating those 10 baskets is even better. That really got us,” Hinton said. “Bailey loves to go right (said by every coach BNL has seen this season), and he went right very well. We let him get inside the paint, and we should have made him go left all night, should have clamped down on him like we did in the first half.

“We let him get free. Once he got free, it collapsed the defense and Staley got the ball on the outside and had a great game. That was the big difference. They didn’t make many outside shots in the first half. But it all starts with Bailey.”

The Panthers (11-12) got in front as freshman Tyler Fessel scored 7 quick points and Koleton Kaiser added 6. Staley stopped the surge with two long jumpers, and Bailey broke loose for 7 points in the second quarter to keep the Stars from getting swept away by the emotion of the moment.

CORYDON – BNL’s Ben Cosner glides along the baseline. Cosner scored 6 points.

“We just kept attacking,” Staley said.

“They left some guys open, and they were able to knock them down,” Hein said.

Fessel totaled 21 points and Anthony Martin added 15 off the bench for Corydon, which has now lost seven straight in the series.

Miracle added 9 points for the Stars, who shot a crisp 58 percent overall (16 of 23 in the second half, including 8 of 12 from deep) and outrebounded the Panthers 32-24.

“How many people in town thought we were going to win 15 games this year?” Hein asked. ”Now we’re not 15-9, we’re 0-0. We’ve had a great regular season, but that’s over with and we move on the the postseason, which is all that matters.”

The Stars will await the winner of the New Albany-Jennings County first-round clash in the semifinal round of the Class 4A sectional at Seymour on March 6.

Corydon assistant coach Chase Best, who has battled kidney disease most of his life, was surprised with the revealing of a kidney donor during halftime. Best, who has deteriorated to the point of needing home dialysis three times per day, will receive a kidney from donor Jake Yonkers.

CORYDON – BNL’s Brayton Bailey powers through defenders for a layup. Bailey recorded his second triple-double of the season.

BEDFORD NL STARS (72)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 4-5 1-3 4 3 9

11 Ben Cosner, f 2-4 2-6 0-0 3 4 6

13 Kooper Staley, g 7-12 7-12 2-2 3 4 23

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-2 5-11 4-5 10 3 14

24 Colten Leach, g 2-2 4-4 4-4 7 3 14

20 Colton Staggs 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 3 0

12 Kaedyn Bennett 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

25 Josh Blunk 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

41 Austin Messmore 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

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

15 Cole Karr 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 11-21 25-43 11-14 32 23 72

CORYDON PANTHERS (62)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

33 Jacob Eve, f 0-0 0-4 4-5 9 3 4

35 Koleton Kaiser, f 1-3 1-8 3-3 2 1 6

55 Tucker Gentemann, c 0-0 2-2 0-1 3 2 4

3 Tyler Fessel, g 3-5 5-10 8-11 2 1 21

11 Alton Adams, g 1-1 1-1 0-0 2 0 3

21 Bryce Weber 1-4 1-5 0-1 0 2 3

41 Anthony Martin 2-5 5-9 3-5 2 4 15

15 Jagger Holton 0-1 1-2 4-4 3 3 6

Totals 8-19 16-41 22-30 24 16 62

Bedford NL 12 14 19 27 – 72

Corydon 13 14 7 28 – 62

Turnovers – BNL 12, Corydon 10

Field goal percentage – BNL 25-43 (.582); Corydon 16-41 (.390)

Free throw percentage – BNL 11-14 (.786); Corydon 22-30 (.733)

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