No practice? No problem as Gomez, Stars conquer Cubs

MADISON – BNL’s Irye Gomez finds a clear path to the basket. Gomez scored a season-high 19 points as the No.7 Stars stopped Madison 62-53 on Saturday afternoon.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

MADISON – Welcome back, Irye Gomez.

Practice makes perfect, according to all the known cliches and standards of excellence, while Gomez disproved while powering No.7 Bedford North Lawrence to a key Hoosier Hills Conference road victory.

Gomez, seeing her first action of any kind – game or practice – since the win over Jeffersonville on Dec. 8, scored a season-high 19 points as the Stars stopped Madison 62-53 in a showdown for the top spot in the league on Saturday afternoon.

Chloe Spreen added 12 points and 8 rebounds as BNL (9-1, 5-0 in the HHC) came off a worrisome week of no practice, thanks to the school’s shutdown of all extracurricular activity, with a significant triumph in the quest for the conference championship.

BNL was not perfect, not by any means. Some idle rust in some areas, most notably defense and ballhandling, were apparent. Gomez, and a key 10-1 burst to start the second half, scraped away that oxidation.

“I was ready to get back out there,” Gomez said. “I just came into this game, like you never know when it will be your last game. Make the most of all of them.”

After scuffling to a 30-26 lead at the half, BNL established its expected working margin with the three-minute blast. Jenna Louden drove for a basket, Gomez gathered a fast-break rebound for another, and Chloe McKnight turned a steal into a score. Spreen finished the run with an 8-footer on the baseline.

Madison’s first five possessions of the third quarter ended without anything positive.

“We were this close,” Madison coach Sonja Bowyer said, holding her thumb and index finger scant millimeters apart. “This close. We knew they would pressure us. It’s hard to simulate a different team’s pressure. At the end of the day, we have to be able to take care of the ball in the halfcourt.”

From that point, BNL kept the Cubs at bay, although star Jade Nutley got her club within uncomfortable single digits twice in the fourth quarter, the last at 54-48 with 3:04 left. Two layups by Spreen and a point-blank basket from Gomez off a zippy Louden pass ended that threat.

Gomez was 7 of 9 from the floor – not bad for a kid who spent 11 days on the couch at home in quarantine.

MADISON – BNL’s Jenna Louden drives past Madison star Jade Nutley. Louden scored a season-high 8 points.

“She did a nice job,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “It’s nice having her back. She’s a great option when they’re trying to face-guard Chloe.

“It’s a great conference win on the road. It looked like two teams, one had practiced, and one had not. They did a good job for no preparation, against a good team.”

McKnight finished with 10 points and Louden added a season-high 8. The Stars hit only 3 of 18 from long range and had 18 turnovers, got in a hurry when game situation called for a slower gear, but they made up for that with efficiency from the interior.

“We came in cold,” Allen said. “At that point, it’s like cramming for a test. What are you going to do? If you’re that far behind, you’re going to hurt yourself to stay up and cram all night long. I have faith in my kids, and they made enough plays to get it done.”

Taylor Lynch, who carried Cubs within upset range in the first half, had 17 points while Nutley totaled 16. Deasja Jay added 12 points.

“Offensively, we were OK,” Allen said. “Defensively is where I was more disappointed. Maybe it was a lack of practice time, but we turned our head a lot, gave them angles we don’t normally give, we got face cut. It seemed like we lost track of our girl and gave them a lot of easy baskets, which you don’t want to do on the road.”

Madison fell to BNL for the 15th straight time in the series. Even with the perfect scenario to recorded a stunning win, and the chances to do exactly that with the first-half toughness and late surge, Bowyer did not post this as any kind of “moral victory.”

“I’m too competiive for that,” she said. “The kids don’t want those moral victories. However, that’s a dang good team, and to lose to a team like that to single digits, I can live with that.

“They’re very talented and we knew it would take an immense amount of effort.”

BNL will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Forest Park in the morning round of the two-game, one-day holiday tournament at 10 a.m.

MADISON – BNL freshman Chloe Spreen slides between Madison defenders Cameran Cahall and Lundun Perry. Spreen had 12 points and 8 rebounds.

BEDFORD NL STARS (62)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 2-3 7-9 3-5 6 3 19

11 Chloe McKnight, f 1-6 4-10 1-2 6 3 10

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-3 4-10 4-4 8 2 12

21 Karsyn Norman, g 0-4 3-10 3-3 1 0 9

23 Jenna Louden, g 0-1 3-4 2-2 4 4 8

12 Makena Moore 0-1 2-4 0-0 1 0 4

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

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

Totals 3-18 23-47 13-15 29 12 62

MADISON CUBS (53)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

34 Taylor Lynch, g 1-3 7-17 2-3 1 3 17

00 Jade Nutley, f 0-1 4-9 8-9 5 0 16

5 Cameran Cahall, g 0-1 2-5 0-1 4 4 4

2 Deasja Jay, g 2-3 5-10 0-0 2 2 12

10 Cadence Traylor, g 0-2 1-4 0-0 8 2 2

21 Lundun Perry 0-0 1-2 0-0 2 2 2

4 Casey Dyer 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 3-10 20-48 10-13 25 13 53

Bedford NL 16 14 17 15 – 62

Madison 16 10 9 18 – 53

Turnovers – BNL 18, Madison 19

Field goal percentage – BNL 23-47 (.489); Madison 20-48 (.417)

Free throw percentage – BNL 13-15 (.867); Madison 10-13 (.769)

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