BNL’s defensive avalanche buries Eastern Pekin 68-30

BNL freshman Chloe Spreen attacks Eastern Pekin’s defense. Spreen scored 17 points as the Stars slammed the Musketeers 68-30 in the opening round of the Limestone Classic on Tuesday morning.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – Like an avalanche, starting with the collapse of a weak underlying layer, Bedford North Lawrence smothered and destroyed with a defense that became more deadly the more it plowed ahead.

Forcing turnovers at the accumulative rate of a heavy snowstorm, the Class 4A No.6 Stars overwhelmed Eastern Pekin the first round of the Limestone Classic on Tuesday morning.

The Class 2A No.9 Musketeers were guilty of 32 turnovers as BNL, quickly aware of that weakness, roared away to a 68-30 victory. Chloe Spreen scored 17 points and Irye Gomez added 16 as BNL advanced to the final to face 2A No.1 Linton (12-0). The Miners conquered Heritage Christian 61-47 in the second game.

BNL (10-1), which got a little stale on the defensive end during its week of shutdown, made that end of the floor a priority during its one day of practice for this tournament. The Musketeers (5-4), who agreed to take Forest Park’s place in the event less than 24 hours earlier, were not prepared for the landslide that buried them.

“That was the focus today,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “We felt like we didn’t play that well defensively at Madison, again that was lack of practice time. We really focused on the defense and I thought they did a good job of that. They communicated well and really played hard.”

Eastern owned a 7-2 lead when the first rumbles of the approaching danger were heard. From that point, as the mistakes piled up, the Musketeers couldn’t dig their way out.

“We let their pressure get to us,” Eastern coach Michael McBride said. “We weren’t strong with the basketball, didn’t look ahead to see what we needed to do.”

BNL’s Irye Gomez drives around Eastern’s Shelby Casey. Gomez scored 16 points.

BNL took over with a 13-0 run in the first quarter, highlighted by Spreen’s quick burst, two Karsyn Norman layups off turnovers, and Makena Moore’s two interior baskets. The Stars finished the first half with a 12-2 run, then started the third quarter with 15 consecutive points. The snowball just kept getting bigger as the margin exploded to 48-16.

Spreen, who seemed to sense BNL’s need for an offensive injection in the opening minutes, had four transition scores during the third-quarter breakaway.

“She’s capable of doing that,” Allen said. “It’s great to have that on your team, a kid that can just take the ball and go get points when you need it. It makes us look like good coaches.”

Moore was also a key factor. With her team struggling to convert shots early, she came off the bench to hit all five of her attempts and total a career-high 11 points.

BNL’s Makena Moore came off the bench to hit all five of her shots and score a career-high 11 points.

”I tried to run the open lanes, and they found me,” Moore said. “I couldn’t have done it without their passes. There was a lot of missed layups, and that’s where I got my points.”

“She played an outstanding game,” Allen said. “We feel like she’s really played well this year, really played within herself. She does the little things, scores when she has the opportunity. I can’t be happier with her play.”

Chloe McKnight added 11 points and grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds.

BNL’s only real glitch was 3-of-19 shooting from long range.

“We’re sharing the ball really well,” Allen said. “I think they like each other. The shooting is about the consistency of practice time, it affects your rhythm. The more we’re on the floor, the better that will become.”

Shelbi Patton paced Eastern (which just got point guard Ava Sowder back from a two-week quarantine) with 10 points while Kendra Sill added 8.

“It will be good for us to learn from it,” McBride said. “We have to get our younger girls to compete at a higher level.”

BNL’s Jenna Louden harasses Eastern’s Kendra Sill. The Stars forced the Musketeers into 32 turnovers.

Linton 61, Heritage Christian 47 – Haley Rose scored 15 points, Aubrey Burgess had 14 and Vanessa Shafford added 14 for the Miners.

Tyranny Brown paced the Eagles (8-5) with 19 points while Ari Wiggins, a Michigan recruit, had 15.

Heritage Christian will face Eastern Pekin in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

EASTERN PEKIN MUSKETEERS (30)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

40 Kyia McKinley, f 0-0 1-3 0-2 4 2 2

12 Ava Sowder, g 1-4 1-5 0-0 4 2 3

00 Shelby Casey, g 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 2 2

14 Shelbi Patton, g 0-0 4-5 2-2 3 3 10

34 Kendra Sill, g 2-5 2-11 2-4 3 0 8

20 McKenna Jeter 0-3 0-4 0-0 8 2 0

10 Libby Heavner 0-0 0-0 0-0 4 1 0

32 Madeline Lewellen 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

42 Kaylee McKinley 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

22 Gracie Lewis 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 0 2

Totals 4-13 11-31 4-8 31 12 30

BEDFORD NL STARS (68)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 2-4 4-9 6-6 4 3 16

11 Chloe McKnight, f 1-9 4-15 2-2 8 0 11

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-0 8-12 1-1 5 1 17

21 Karsyn Norman, g 0-2 2-8 1-2 1 2 5

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

12 Makena Moore 0-0 5-5 1-2 0 0 11

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

32 Madisyn Bailey 0-0 0-1 0-0 3 2 0

44 Grace Kinser 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 0 2

31 Ella Turner 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

50 Emma Crane 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 0 2

Totals 3-19 26-57 13-16 23 10 68

Eastern Pekin 12 4 7 7 – 30

Bedford NL 15 18 18 17 – 68

Turnovers – Eastern Pekin 32, BNL 10

Field goal percentage – Eastern Pekin 11-31 (.355); BNL 26-57 (.456)

Free throw percentage – Eastern Pekin 4-8 (.500); BNL 13-16 (.813)

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