Stars veer off Main Street for back-alley victory over Pioneers

BNL’s Irye Gomez drives to the basket against Mooresville’s Madelynn Denny. Gomez had 10 points as the No.3 Stars topped the Pioneers 53-42 on Wednesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – Congratulations, Bedford North Lawrence. You just won a big game against North Central. What are you going to do next? Disney World?

Nope, the pre-holiday destination was a not-so-happy-place date with Mooresville, and it was not an amusement ride. At least BNL coach Jeff Allen wasn’t delighted when the third-ranked Stars couldn’t duplicate the wide-eyed wonder and electric light show thrills of the first three wins.

This was more back alley than Main Street. BNL came out a little bruised after an 18-point lead couldn’t be sustained. This team has a high standard. Winning is foremost on the priority list, and the Stars kept their perfect record intact with a 53-42 conquest of the tough Pioneers on Wednesday night.

Chloe McKnight had 15 points and Chloe Spreen added 13 for BNL (4-0), which had a first-half burst of brilliance and a second-half lag of download. Even the best can’t be brilliant every time.

Mooresville, 0-3 and playing back-to-back road games on a weeknight, deserves credit for respected grit and refusal to fold. Most teams would have found plenty of excuses to roll over. The Pioneers cut the margin to single digits in the third quarter, but the Stars kept their charge tampered down.

“I wasn’t happy with the focus,” Allen said. “I thought Mooresville outplayed us. We’re just talented enough that we made enough plays to win. But I’m a little disappointed. Yes, it’s the day before a holiday, but we’re competitors, right? So compete.

“We just kind of went through the motions. They’re kids, they have to learn the hard way sometimes. We’re lucky we’re talented enough to make enough plays to win.”

BNL’s Karsyn Norman protects the ball from enemy hands while attacking the basket. Norman had 8 points.

BNL’s winning plays came during a 13-0 blast early in the second quarter. Spreen started it with a 3-point play, and McKnight got left alone – that was not on the scouting report – for back-to-back treys. Karsyn Norman streaked to a layup off a Spreen steal, and Spreen capped the run with a head-down muscle drive through traffic for a 22-4 lead.

Blowout? Not this time. Mooresville wiped off the mud stains, cleaned up its act after 10 first-quarter turnovers, and came right back with an 11-1 answer. That set the tone for the last 20 minutes. The Pioneers didn’t have the offensive firepower to make BNL nervous, but they had the defensive resolve to stay close.

“That’s been us in our first three games,” Mooresville veteran coach Mark Hurt said. “We’ve gotten off to a bad start in three games now.

“We stuck with our game plan. During that stretch we did a better job of executing. We don’t shoot the ball well enough to gives kids free reign. We’re still learning to play as a team. We struggled offensively. Our execution needs to be better.”

BNL freshman Chloe Spreen looks for a way out of a double-team trap. Spreen scored 13 points.

The Stars kept the double-digit lead intact after Mooresville closed within 34-25 in the third quarter. Spreen drove for a bucket, Irye Gomez converted a layup off a Jenna Louden pass, McKnight cut to an opening for a basket off a Gomez assist, and Gomez drilled a corner 3-pointer for a 45-31 advantage heading to the final frame.

BNL rebuilt the 18-point lead with a Spreen 15-footer and a Haley Deckard layup off an inbound set, but that would be the last basket at 3:16. Mooresville kept playing rather than coasting.

“They looked like the fresher team out there,” Allen said. “Sometimes you learn lessons the hard way. This was a lesson night. They’re not all going to be Disney World where you play great and everything goes perfect. Sometimes you have to teach. That’s my job. There’s adversity in life., Sometimes things will be hard and you have to respond.”

Gomez finished with 10 points and Norman totaled 8. Deckard grabbed 6 rebounds as BNL again won that statistical battle, but the Stars shot only 38 percent.

Addi Shafer and Kirsten Dove had 8 points each for Mooresville (which lost at Martinsville on Tuesday). Hurt pointed out the defensive work of Abby Young, who didn’t shoot in the second half but devoted her entire time on the court to chasing McKnight off the bonus line after the BNL bomber swished three in the second quarter.

“We lost track of her a couple of times in the first half,” Hurt said. “We gave her no-help responsibilities and she did a good job. Our kids hung in there and fought hard.”

BNL will return to action on Saturday at Brownsburg.

BNL’s Carlee Kern applies defensive pressure. The Stars forced 20 turnovers, including 10 in the first quarter.

MOORESVILLE PIONEERS (42)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

32 Addi Shafer, f 0-0 4-6 0-1 4 0 8

45 Kirsten Dove, f 0-1 4-8 0-0 4 2 8

22 Abby Young, g 0-0 1-3 2-2 2 3 4

21 Madelynn Denny, g 0-1 3-7 1-2 3 1 7

12 Ally Graber, g 1-3 3-6 0-0 3 2 7

44 Rachel Harshman 0-0 1-3 2-2 3 0 4

30 Bri Hoskins 0-0 2-3 0-0 0 2 4

33 Hannah Hurt 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 2 0

23 Kalyn Bunch 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 1-6 18-37 5-7 21 12 42

BEDFORD NL STARS (53)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 2-6 3-8 2-2 1 1 10

11 Chloe McKnight, f 4-9 5-12 1-3 4 0 15

2 Chloe Spreen, f 1-3 5-10 2-3 3 3 13

21 Karsyn Norman, g 1-5 2-8 3-4 3 1 8

23 Jenna Louden, g 0-0 1-1 3-4 2 3 5

40 Haley Deckard 0-0 1-3 0-0 6 0 2

24 Carlee Kern 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

12 Makena Moore 0-2 0-2 0-0 3 1 0

32 Madisyn Bailey 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

44 Grace Kinser 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 8-25 17-44 11-16 27 10 53

Mooresville 2 15 14 11 – 53

Bedford NL 9 22 14 8 – 53

Turnovers – Mooresville 20, BNL 15

Field goal percentage – Mooresville 18-37 (.486); BNL 17-44 (.386)

Free throw percentage – Mooresville 5-7 (.714); BNL 11-16 (.688)

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