No.2 Stars swipe everything from Cougars during 80-26 victory

BNL’s Carlee Kern grabs a rebound during an interior battle on Tuesday night. Kern and the Stars forced 34 turnovers while hammering Bloomington North 80-26.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – For the martial arts fans, legend Bruce Lee had the fastest hands in the world. Among boxing artisans, nobody was faster than Sugar Ray Leonard or Floyd Mayweather. How about a pickpocket, or the gunslingers of the old West? There’s the quick, and the dead.

On the basketball court, few can match the collective hand speed of Bedford North Lawrence’s tenacious ballhawks. Dribble the ball in front of them, they’re taking it away. If the opponent isn’t quick, they’re dead.

The No.2 Stars robbed Bloomington North blind, forcing 34 turnovers while breaking and entering into a dribbler’s safe zone. That wasn’t basketball, it was high-speed larceny as BNL (13-1) crushed the Cougars 80-26 on Tuesday night.

Chloe Spreen scored 19 points and Chloe McKnight added 12, but the offense was a product of the defensive thievery. The Cougars (5-10) were victims of pilfering on a massive, impressive scale. BNL took everything. Swiper the fox, who was always chasing poor Dora during her exploring, would have been proud.

North went 16 minutes between its first and second field goals, scored only 5 points until the 1:30 mark of the third quarter. BNL’s relentless pursuit was something to behold. The Stars refused to play down to the opponent’s level. They demanded North match their hyper-intensity.

“Coaches love winning basketball games,” BNL’s Jeff Allen said. “That’s fun for coaches. But to me, what is truly fun for a coach and what pleases me is when I give instructions about how we want to approach a game, and have kids carry it out.

“I thought they did that. I’m really proud of all of them. From the starting five, through the bench, they all did what they were supposed to do.”

BNL’s Jenna Louden wrestles the ball away from North’s Elyse Goad and Mia Robbennolt.

After North’s Mallory Barrow hit a 3-pointer from the key early in the first quarter, the Stars scored the next 43 points. The Cougars had only three shot attempts until the 4:41 mark of the second quarter. BNL had a 61-5 lead, and was threatening to keep the Cougars under double digits, late in the third.

“They never looked at the scoreboard or who they were playing,” Allen said. “They played with the respect of the opponent, they played hard and I was really proud of what they did.

“We talked about playing at that high level. We have a tough stretch of games coming up, and I’m one of those coaches who believes that level of play needs to be good going into that.”

This was not expected to be tough, and it wasn’t as BNL won its 10th straight game in the series and its ninth straight this season. Karsyn Norman and Haley Deckard added 10 points each.

BNL freshman Chloe Spreen scored a game-high 19 points.

BNL didn’t show any drop off until the late stages as North scored 17 fourth quarter points, most after the Stars had their biggest lead at 74-11, the last two baskets courtesy of steals for layups. Expect something else?

“It was hard to keep the intensity up,” said senior Irye Gomez, who was honored with her own personal Senior Night (she missed the regular celebration of the upperclassmen because of virus quarantine). “When you’re up like that, it’s hard to be motivated to keep going. We did a good job of that.”

Gomez is one of the main thieves. She chews that gum even faster when her opponent dares to expose the ball. Cross-over moves are usually met with a hand in the way. Too much bouncing is an invitation to get picked.

“We’ve been practicing that a lot,” she said. “It comes from practicing defense and it’s another level to make our defense a lot better.”

“We all just read it, and we all want the ball,” senior guard Jenna Louden added. “It’s a drive to get the ball and go score. Coach Allen has definitely put in our heads that defense wins games, so if we play it like we’re supposed to, and have the heart for it, everything will fall into place.”

On the offensive end, Deckard didn’t miss a shot. Spreen was 9 of 11, most of those breakaway layups off turnovers. Gomez totaled 9 points. BNL also got 28 bench points.

“You like seeing these other kids, who suffer and sacrifice, who work hard in practice, get some extra minutes,” Allen said. “We had them outmatched, but a lot of it had to do with everyone who came in there played really hard and focused. Top to bottom, they just play so hard. They play as absolutely hard as they can.“

Barrow had 12 points for North.

BNL will host Castle on Saturday afternoon.

BNL’s Makena Moore looks for an opening. Moore scored 5 points as BNL’s bench totaled 28.

BLOOMINGTON NORTH COUGARS (26)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

3 Mia Robbennolt, f 0-2 0-4 0-2 0 0 0

12 Elyse Goad, f 0-0 0-3 0-0 3 4 0

13 Casey Thomas, f 0-1 1-3 0-0 5 1 2

21 Ava Reitmeyer, g 1-2 2-3 0-0 0 3 5

10 Mallory Barrow, g 2-4 5-8 0-0 3 2 12

32 Amya Mayes 0-0 0-0 2-2 2 2 2

24 Libby Rice 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

15 Madison Edie-Booker 1-1 2-3 0-0 0 0 5

22 Isabelle Himebaugh 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

33 Ava Craft 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 4-10 10-24 2-4 18 12 26

BEDFORD NL STARS (80)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 1-3 3-8 2-2 1 1 9

11 Chloe McKnight, f 3-6 4-7 1-2 3 0 12

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-0 9-11 1-2 6 1 19

21 Karsyn Norman, g 0-6 5-12 0-0 1 0 10

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

40 Haley Deckard 0-0 3-3 4-4 1 0 10

12 Makena Moore 1-2 1-2 2-4 2 1 5

24 Carlee Kern 0-1 2-5 2-2 4 0 6

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

32 Madisyn Bailey 1-3 1-4 0-0 0 0 3

20 Emma Brown 0-1 0-1 0-0 1 1 0

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

31 Ella Turner 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 1 2

Totals 6-22 31-57 12-16 25 7 80

Bl. North 3 0 6 17 – 26

Bedford NL 24 23 21 12 – 80

Turnovers – North 34, BNL 6

Field goal percentage – North 10-24 (.417); BNL 31-57 (.544)

Free throw percentage – North 2-4 (.500); BNL 12-16 (.750)

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