Stars do the restricting on the court to conquer East Central

BNL’s Chloe McKnight draws a crowd of defenders against East Central. McKnight scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the No.6 Stars stopped the No.4 Trojans 36-25 on Saturday afternoon.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – Restricted by limited attendance rules, Bedford North Lawrence applied that mandate on the court to win a clash of state powers. Few watched, few would have wanted to watch the offenses that struggled like fish out of water, gasping and flopping.

On the other side, the defense was spectacular. And the Stars, who burn so much energy on that end, won a battle of potential regional contenders because of it.

In a collision of two Class 4A challengers, No.6 BNL squeezed the offensive life out of No.4 East Central, winning a 36-25 slugfest on Saturday afternoon. Chloe McKnight had a tough double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Stars (12-1) handed the Trojans their first loss against in-state competition.

Perhaps the rims were moving around, or there was a jet stream gush about 15 feet above Damon Bailey Court that blew shots off course. This victory was not about offensive artistry. This was one of defensive tenacity.

East Central, averaging a robust 61.8 points per game, was held to its lowest total since the 2011-12 season. That’s how championships are won. No trophy was on the line during this clash, but if this rematch of last season’s regional final was a foreshadowing of the future, BNL proved something.

Shots might not fall. Heck, even breakaway layups were not a given. But defense is a constant.

“Our kids did an amazing job as far as what we wanted to accomplish,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “From a coaching standpoint, it was a great job defensively.

“It definitely wasn’t an offensive spectacular performance by either team. Both of us struggled, both teams had something to do with that.”

BNL freshman Chloe Spreen launches a jumper over East Central’s Josie Trabel. Spreen scored 14 points.

Is Allen going to give back the W? Not a chance.

BNL earned it by locking down and shutting down a potent opponent. Josie Trabel, one of the state’s rising sophomore stars, had 14 points, but the rest of the Trojans were dismal, hitting 5 of 23 shots and 0 of 15 treys.

“We talked about getting north and south, and a lot of our dribbles were east and west,” East Central coach Kevin Moore said. “That’s a credit to their on-the-ball pressure.

“We didn’t take advantage of our size. Our post didn’t work hard enough, and our guards didn’t take their time on the perimeter. We were too quick to bounce the thing.”

BNL took control with a 9-2 surge in the second quarter as McKnight scored off a beautiful lob and popped a pair of treys. Chloe Spreen worked inside for a point-blank bucket as the Stars rumbled to a 22-11 halftime lead.

Spreen started the second half with two baskets for BNL’s biggest lead at 26-13. The Trojans got within six and had a possession to draw closer, but McKnight’s runout layup stopped that run.

BNL’s Jenna Louden tracks down East Central’s Kyla Maxwell.

Both teams combined for only four buckets in the fourth quarter. The Stars got the last two with Irye Gomez racing to a layup off a Spreen steal and Karsyn Norman breaking open off an inbound set.

The Stars didn’t exactly set shooting records (3 of 17 from distance). Spreen had 12 points, but missed layups cost the Stars both points and confidence. It became a mental block.

“We couldn’t even make a layup at one point,” Allen said. “Against a team of that caliber, you need every one you can get. If we make our layups, we’re up another 10.”

That’s a cake minus the icing. The result was still sweet.

“Had you told me we were holding Bedford to 36 points, I would have said we were going to win the game,” Moore said.

Perhaps East Central (10-2) could point to fatigue. The Trojans, who have never beaten BNL, were playing their fourth game in five days. Hope Fox, who was averaging 17.2, was limited to a single basket.

The Stars will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Bloomington North.

BNL’s Irye Gomez drives the baseline as East Central’s Josie Trabel moves into defensive position.

EAST CENTRAL TROJANS (25)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

23 Josie Trabel, f 2-2 4-9 4-4 2 1 14

30 Emma Ertel, f 0-0 0-0 0-0 4 0 0

15 Julia Tiemann, g 0-1 1-2 0-0 4 2 2

12 Hope Fox, g 0-8 1-11 0-0 5 0 2

24 Kyla Maxwell, g 0-1 3-5 1-4 5 1 7

50 Charsan McCory 0-2 0-2 0-2 4 0 0

20 Ashley Nobbe 0-3 0-3 0-0 1 0 0

5 Laney Baker 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 2-17 9-32 5-10 27 4 25

BEDFORD NL STARS (36)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 0-2 2-7 0-0 2 2 4

11 Chloe McKnight, f 2-8 6-16 0-0 11 0 14

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-2 6-10 0-0 5 3 12

21 Karsyn Norman, g 0-4 1-7 0-0 2 1 2

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

40 Haley Deckard 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 1 0

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

12 Makena Moore 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 3-17 16-42 1-2 25 8 36

East Central 4 7 11 3 – 25

Bedford NL 9 13 8 6 – 36

Turnovers – East Central 13, BNL 9

Field goal percentage – East Central 9-32 (.281), BNL 16-42 (.381)

Free throw percentage – East Central 5-10 (.500), BNL 1-2 (.500)

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