BNL’s first-half blitz buries New Albany during 78-44 win in sectional debut

NEW ALBANY – BNL sophomore guard Karsyn Norman cuts through defenders on her way to the basket. Norman matched her career high with 21 points as the No.3 Stars thumped the Bulldogs 78-44 in the first round of the sectional on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

NEW ALBANY – The blitz was intense, the feeling of a linebacker crushing a defenseless quarterback, a military bombardment without challenge, a merciless pounding. No.3 Bedford North Lawrence, at its best in virtually every phase, was scary and relentless.

When the smoke cleared from that flawless first half, quite a debut for the first round of the Class 4A sectional on Tuesday night, the Stars were standing tall amidst rubble, nothing but destruction in their wake.

BNL blasted New Albany with a shock-and-awe opening of brilliance, setting the tone for its championship defense. The final, thanks to some BNL slack and some New Albany pride in the second half, was a 78-44 beatdown as the Stars (19-2) rumbled to the semifinal round.

The ending doesn’t do the beginning justice. BNL exploded to a 17-2 lead in 3:06, roared to a 27-6 advantage after the first quarter and 50-12 at the half. That level of amazing performance couldn’t be maintained, but it was enough.

Karsyn Norman matched her career high with 21 points and freshman Chloe Spreen totaled 20 as BNL took the first step toward its 10th consecutive sectional crown. Next is Jeffersonville (6-11) in the second game on Friday night, following the first semifinal between Jennings County and Floyd Central.

BNL’s onslaught was spectacular and vicious. The Stars hit 20 of 33 shots in the first half, outrebounded the Bulldogs 26-2. Norman and Spreen were the catalysts as they combined to hit 13 of 16 shots, including all four of their 3-pointers. In a word: Wow.

“I kind of challenged them a little bit to raise their game a notch,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “Because I think they can. If they do, it makes us even that much better. They both responded tonight.

“We shot well. And our defense got energized off that. We did a good job defensively, too. We made it very difficult for them. But when we hit shots like that, it gets us going as far as effort on the defensive end.”

NEW ALBANY – BNL freshman Chloe Spreen drives toward the basket. Spreen totaled 20 points.

The Bulldogs (6-16) tried to zone. BNL shot it apart. They tried switching to man defense, the Stars shredded it. Norman was swishing jumpers or cutting through traffic, Spreen was cleaning up the few misses on the offensive glass. Chloe McKnight owned the defensive boards, grabbing 9 total to go with her 13 points.

“We came out on fire,” Norman said. “When you do that, it’s always fun. We took off from there.”

The Bulldogs had gotten a first-hand look at one of the state’s best in early December. They had suffered some carnage during that 73-34 loss. This was, for a half, even worse.

“We knew what to expect, we knew what they would do,” New Albany first-year coach Shelby Gliebe said. “We just didn’t execute what we talked about.

“We’re not a very strong rebounding team anyway. So our main focus was getting a hand up on the shooters and put a body on somebody. We didn’t do either of those in the first half.”

Now the second half was a different story. The Bulldogs, given the 38-point deficit, battled back, Layne Burke scored 12 of her 15 points after intermission, Maleea Roland ended with 11 points. New Albany scored more in the third quarter (19) than it did in the first half.

NEW ALBANY – BNL’s Irye Gomez gathers a loose ball. Gomez scored 13 points.

“You have two options,” Gliebe said. “You can come out and be OK with what’s happening and let it snowball, or you can fight a little bit. That was encouraging to see, that we weren’t going to roll over. We had a little fight and pride left in us.”

“It’s basketball, the other team is trying to win, too,” Allen said. “Those kids played hard in the second half, they made some shots. We relaxed a little defensively, a couple of times I wasn’t happy and we got complacent. But for the most part it was more them. You have to give them credit for that.”

Irye Gomez also scored 13 points for BNL, which has now won 28 straight sectional games and the last four by a whopping average of 38 points. The Stars finished with an overwhelming 41-17 rebounding margin.

“Our focus was going to be defensively getting stops and defensive rebounding,” Allen said. “We’ll have nights we don’t shoot the ball well, but as long as we’re doing that, we’ll be in good position. When we shoot the ball, we’ll be in great position.”

Norman and Spreen finished 18 of 26 combined.

“My confidence has been down a little, my shot has been a little messed up,” Norman said. “But I was hitting them in warm-ups, and it was like ‘You got this.’ And I hit the first one, it was ‘OK’. And I just kept going. We built momentum.”

NEW ALBANY – BNL’s Chloe McKnight lines up a wide open 3-pointer. McKnight totaled 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Jennings County 72, Seymour 48 – The Panthers took control with a 10-0 run in the first quarter and cruised from there, completing a season sweep of the Owls. Freshman center Juliann Woodard had 25 points while Kali Thompson and Addyson Kent added 11 for Jennings (15-6).

Grace Meyer scored 14 points for Seymour (10-10).

BEDFORD NL STARS (78)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

22 Irye Gomez, f 1-5 5-9 2-2 3 2 13

11 Chloe McKnight, f 2-7 4-11 3-3 9 2 13

2 Chloe Spreen, f 1-1 9-12 1-2 7 4 20

21 Karsyn Norman, g 3-3 9-14 0-0 2 1 21

23 Jenna Louden, g 0-0 1-3 0-0 5 2 2

24 Carlee Kern 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 2 0

12 Makena Moore 0-3 3-6 0-0 4 0 6

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

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

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

20 Emma Brown 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

Totals 8-22 32-61 6-7 41 15 78

NEW ALBANY BULLDOGS (44)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

34 Layne Burke, f 3-6 6-11 0-0 1 0 15

32 Alaina Walker, g 0-0 1-1 0-0 2 1 2

20 Anasha Crowdus, g 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

10 Taylor Treat, g 0-6 3-16 3-6 3 1 9

3 Maleea Roland, g 1-3 5-8 0-0 2 1 11

12 Delani Ewing 0-2 0-5 0-0 3 0 0

5 Vanessa Burns 0-0 2-4 5-6 1 1 7

14 Myah Mitchell 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 0 0

23 Journey Howard 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

33 Joy Robinson 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

Totals 4-18 16-46 8-12 17 4 44

Bedford NL 27 23 13 15 – 78

New Albany 6 6 19 13 – 44

Turnovers – BNL 10, New Albany 12

Field goal percentage – BNL 32-61 (.524); New Albany 16-46 (.348)

Free throw percentage – BNL 6-7 (.857); New Albany 8-12 (.667)

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