Stars solve the cube, but Reitz draws the (foul) line for 64-55 win

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Jackson Miracle finds an open gap against Evansville Reitz. The Panthers conquered the Stars 64-55 on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

EVANSVILLE – Rubik’s Cube, a cultural icon since the 1980s, could drive problem solvers crazy with its three-dimensional puzzle and infinite possible moves. For Bedford North Lawrence, that cube was the halfcourt zone trap. It’s been a Twilight Zone for them since the opening loss.

The Stars finally figured it out, just a little too late.

After coughing up turnovers and the lead in the first half, the Stars rushed back from a 14-point deficit to within a single possession, only to fall short in their comeback as Evansville Reitz held off a furious late rally to remain unbeaten.

The Panthers, now 3-0 in their virus-shortened season, powered past BNL 64-55 on Friday night. Owen Dease suffered through a shooting slump but still scored 14 points while big man Gavin Schippert added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

BNL (3-5) could point to several factors for its demise. Seven second-quarter turnovers as Reitz roared away with a 9-0 close to the half for a 30-19 lead. Or how about 26 fouls (with three players fouling out) that gave Reitz a 36-12 advantage in free-throw attempts. Or Reitz’s 31-16 rebounding advantage.

Despite that adversity, BNL had a shot at a huge road upset win. Kooper Staley drilled back-to-back treys during a minute blitz that got the Stars within 52-49 with 3:52 left, but Reitz scored its next 10 points at the foul line to keep BNL at bay.

“We just dug a hole, too big of a hole,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “The second quarter killed us.”

That’s where the problems began. Ben Cosner stroked three jumpers to give BNL a 14-10 lead early in that frame, but a pair of 9-0 bursts – fueled by turnovers against the 1-2-2 trap – got Reitz in front and to the half with a lot of comfort.

“That killed us,” Hein said. “They went to that 1-2-2, which we’ve struggled with this year. We outplayed them the second half, no question about it.

“It’s like we solved the Rubik’s Cube tonight. We did some good things, figured some stuff out about attacking toward the basket, splitting traps. We were a lot more successful in the second half, so that was worth the two-hour bus ride down here, to solve that piece of the puzzle.”

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Colton Staggs gets free from close range. Staggs came off the bench to score 10 points.

The Panthers prowled to a 14-point lead, and still held 52-39 command midway through the fourth. That’s when BNL made its move as Colten Leach dropped two free throws, Staley buried a wing bomb, Colton Staggs popped a wing 15-footer and Staley connected from deep again to cut the margin to 52-49.

But the rally ended there, with an unsecured rebound starting the Reitz parade to the foul line. The Panthers made 12 free throws in the final quarter, including 10 from the 3:27 mark until Ethan Higgs capped the contest with a breakaway slam.

Reitz was 26 of 36 from the line overall. The Stars were 6 of 12. That happens on the road.

“Fouls were huge,” Hein said. “The game was called differently on both ends of the floor, there’s no question. I’m not ripping, I’m just saying it was a fact. So for us to overcome that and give ourselves a chance to win, against a very good team, says a lot about the effort we gave. But no moral victories. We lost the game, but hopefully we can take things we learned into games coming up.”

Dease, one of the Reitz scoring leaders, was only 4 of 13 from the field, but he got considerable support from the 6-7 Schippert (almost unmovable and unstoppable with his constant presence in the low post) and Higgs (13 points).

“Owen did not have a good game,” Reitz coach Michael Adams said. “He really struggled shooting the ball, but we had other guys that did a lot of good things. In our league, if you get a win and not play well, you have to take it.

“We tried to get it to Schippert. He’s a warrior, a great kid that works hard. There was a lot of stuff inside that went uncalled, and you have to play through it. It was an ugly basketball game., You have to give credit to Coach Hein. I thought they out-competed us. They were tougher.”

Staley paced the Stars with 17 points, including 5 treys. Cosner totaled 13 and Staggs came off the bench for a career-high 10 while hitting his first four shots.

BNL will host South Knox and celebrate Senior Night on Saturday.

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Kooper Staley scored 17 points and fueled a late comeback before fouling out.

BEDFORD NL STARS (55)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 2-5 5-11 1-2 3 4 13

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-1 2-4 0-0 1 5 4

24 Colten Leach, g 0-1 2-7 5-6 5 3 9

12 Kooper Staley, g 5-7 6-10 0-2 4 5 17

3 Aden Pemberton, g 0-4 1-5 0-0 0 2 2

22 Colton Staggs 2-2 4-5 0-2 2 5 10

15 Kaedyn Bennett 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 2 0

41 Austin Messmore 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 9-22 20-44 6-12 16 26 55

EVANSVILLE REITZ PANTHERS (64)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

32 Ethan Higgs, f 1-2 4-8 4-4 3 1 13

12 Owen Dease, f 0-5 4-13 6-8 6 2 14

44 Gavin Schippert, f 0-3 4-9 5-6 11 2 13

5 Jadyn McHugh, g 0-0 1-1 3-7 2 2 5

33 Isaac Higgs, g 0-2 2-5 3-4 3 0 7

23 KT Tinson 0-1 2-4 5-7 0 1 9

13 Jordan Jarvis 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 5 0

20 Koston McReynolds 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

Totals 2-15 18-42 26-36 31 13 64

Bedford NL 12 7 15 21 – 55

Evan. Reitz 8 22 16 18 – 64

Turnovers – BNL 17, Reitz 16

Technical foul – Dease

Field goal percentage – BNL 20-44 (.455); Reitz 18-42 (.429)

Free throw percentage – BNL 6-12 (.500); Reitz 26-36 (.722)

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