Ugly? BNL’s win over South Knox was pretty enough to end skid

BNL’s Ben Cosner scoops up a shot from close range. Cosner, one of six seniors honored in pregame festivities, scored 7 points as the Stars edged South Knox 36-30 on Saturday night.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

BEDFORD – U-G-L-Y, and Bedford North Lawrence had no alibi for losing. Not on Senior Night. Not with a three-game losing streak. The Stars needed something attractive to save face.

Down heading into the fourth quarter, BNL received the makeover it so desperately needed. A splash of offensive mascara, a brush of defensive concealer did wonders as the Stars emerged blushed with victory.

BNL opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 surge, and Kaedyn Bennett dropped a huge 3-pointer, the final field goal during a tight-fisted 36-30 triumph over stubborn South Knox on Saturday night. Colten Leach scored 15 points as BNL (4-5) snapped its skid and avoided a grim loss.

The Spartans (5-4) had BNL at their mercy, stuck in the deliberate style they prefer. Patient on offense, staunch on the other end, South Knox was threatening to make its first visit to BNL Fieldhouse quite memorable. BNL, down 25-22 with the final quarter to make amends, escaped with the late run.

“I’d rather have an ugly win, than a pretty loss, any day of the week,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said, and this certainly qualified. “That’s the style they play. You have to grind it out and find a way to win. We fould a way, that’s what it’s all about. I don’t care what the score is, a win is a win. And we really needed a win.”

BNL had only six field goals during the first 24 minutes, one of the reasons for the deficit. That trend changed as Jackson Miracle scooped up a loose ball offensive rebound for a bucket, Leach crashed the lane for a score, and his backcourt steal gave BNL a 30-25 advantage.

South Knox came back with Garrett Holscher’s corner trey with 3:20 left. Following a timeout, Bennett buried his jumper, ignoring the fact he had missed wildly on his first three attempts. BNL rode out the final minute like a cowboy on the back of a bucking animal, hanging on to avoid a trampling.

“Fortunately we made some plays,” Hein said. “Leach made some great defensive plays late, got some big steals, and Bennet hit the three that was big.”

South Knox was difficult to tame. The slow-paced attack, placing an emphasis on shot quality, created a slogfest only a mother could love. Leach scored twice as BNL crawled to an 8-7 lead after the first quarter, and Ben Cosner’s rebound bucket off a miss free throw capped the half with BNL’s 18-17 edge.

BNL’s Colten Leach slides through defensive traffic to find a teammate. Leach scored 15 points.

BNL missed its first six shots of the second half until Leach sliced the lane for a 3-point play, but the Spartans scored the final six points of that frame, with Cody Dawson muscling to a 3-point play and the 25-22 lead.

Leach was the X factor. His ability to penetrate and break down South Knox’s tight lane defense was critical.

“Coach told me to look to score more,” he said. “We were more patient. We were taking some quick shots. That’s what changed it.”

“They’re a very good defensive team, they’re always in the right spots,” Hein said. “But they struggled to keep Colten in front. He’s so good getting in the lane. He has to have a scoring mentality first, passing second. That opened up some guys.”

Kooper Staley had 9 points, all from the foul line, and Cosner totaled 7. They were part of the six-man senior class honored during pregame ceremonies.

Dakota Candler had 10 points for the Spartans while Garrett Holscher and Dawson had 9 each. South Knox hit only 9 of 28 shots, although BNL was not much better at 10 for 30.

“I don’t think we played down to their level,” Hein said. “They just make the game that way. It’s a different style. But you have to give them credit. You look at Reitz (on Friday night), we had to ugly it up to stay with them. South Knox had to ugly it up a little bit.

“When you can win shooting 10 of 30, that says a lot about the defensive tenacity.”

BNL will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Madison. The game will be varsity only (Madison’s junior varsity has been placed in virus quarantine) and start at 6 p.m.

BNL’s Kooper Staley scored 9 points, all from the foul line, as the Stars ended a three-game losing streak.

SOUTH KNOX SPARTANS (30)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

4 Dylan Maeder, f 0-3 0-6 0-0 5 3 0

14 Tristian Wirth, f 0-0 0-2 2-3 4 3 2

44 Cody Dawson, c 0-0 3-6 3-3 4 3 9

15 Brennon Robinson, g 0-4 0-5 0-0 3 3 0

3 Garrett Holscher, g 3-5 3-5 0-0 0 5 9

32 Dakota Candler 1-1 3-4 3-5 2 1 10

21 Jackson Thomas 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 4-13 9-28 8-11 21 18 30

BEDFORD NL STARS (36)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 1-5 2-7 2-4 4 1 7

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-1 1-4 0-0 5 3 2

41 Austin Messmore, c 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

12 Kooper Staley, g 0-0 0-2 9-10 4 1 9

3 Aden Pemberton, g 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 3 0

24 Colten Leach 0-0 6-13 3-7 5 3 15

22 Colton Staggs 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

15 Kaedyn Bennett 1-4 1-4 0-0 2 2 3

Totals 2-10 10-30 14-21 23 15 36

South Knox 7 10 8 5 – 30

Bedford NL 8 10 4 14 – 36

Turnovers – South Knox 10, BNL 7

Field goal percentage – South Knox 9-28 (.321); BNL 10-30 (.333)

Free throw percentage – South Knox 8-11 (.727); BNL 14-21 (.667)

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