Stars make memories with clutch 53-51 win over Memorial

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Colton Staggs looks to drive against Memorial’s Connor Agler. Staggs scored 7 points as the Stars clipped the Tigers 53-51 on Saturday afternoon.

By Justin Sokeland

WBIW.com

EVANSVILLE – Bedford North Lawrence’s first appearance at venerable Evansville Memorial was a memory-making day.

Ben Cosner, with defenders draped around him, buried a clutch go-ahead 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, and the Stars converted free throws in the closing seconds to edge Memorial 53-51 on Saturday afternoon.

Colten Leach scored 21 points and Kooper Staley added 13 as BNL (8-9) posted an impressive victory with some solid decisions and execution in the final minute.

Trailing 48-46 after the Tigers (7-8) clawed back in front with a 7-0 run, the Stars forced a turnover and capitalized with Cosner’s dramatic trey from the key. Memorial star Caleb Stewart, a thorn in BNL’s paw all day, was guilty of a traveling violation, and that gave the Stars a chance to seal the deal. They did so with free throws by Staley (11.6 seconds) and Colton Staggs (4.4) to keep the Tigers caged.

“Those were huge,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “Cosner’s 3-pointer was big to give us the lead, then the free throws. We found a way. That’s what you have to do on the road.”

Stewart finished with 17 points and Justin Waiz totaled 15 for Memorial.

BNL took control early with quick offense from Staley, who popped a mid-range jumper and a trey. Staggs and Cosner added bonus bombs for an 11-8 advantage after the first quarter.

Leach extended that margin to 19-14 with a 3-point play, but Memorial answered with its first surge as Waiz buried two perimeter jumpers and Evan Harding added a basket from the circle, giving the Tigers a 22-21 edge at intermission.

BNL’s best blast came in the opening minutes of the second half, a tough 11-0 run highlighted by three transition buckets (Staggs and Leach twice), Staley’s 3-pointer from the right wing, and two Leach free throws during the first 3:32.

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Colten Leach surveys the defense. Leach scored 21 points.

Stewart got the Tigers growling again with 7 straight points via a 3-point play and a slithering drive for a bank shot on the run. But Leach, who hit eight straight shots, countered with a beautiful baseline reverse, a fast-break bucket and a 15-footer for a 38-31 advantage.

Staley’s wing trey and Leach’s steal for a layup gave the Stars a 43-37 lead, and Jackson Miracle’s 3-point play (off a gorgeous pass from Staley) with a baseline move gave BNL 46-41 edge with 2:28 left.

Memorial, trapping and forcing the issue, then went on its 7-0 surge as Stewart sliced through traffic and Waiz bombed a corner jumper. That set the stage for the BNL heroics.

“It was hard fought and we knew it would be,” Hein said. “Every time we made a run, here they come again. Every time we thought we were in position to put them away, they came back. I was proud of the way the kids battled and executed at the right times. We found a way.”

Staggs finished with 7 points and Cosner totaled 6 for BNL, which will visit Loogootee on Tuesday.

EVANSVILLE – BNL’s Kooper Staley fires from long range. Staley totaled 13 points.

BEDFORD NL STARS (53)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 2-6 2-7 0-0 4 2 6

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

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 9-12 3-3 1 3 21

12 Kooper Staley, g 3-6 4-9 2-3 5 2 13

22 Colton Staggs, g 1-3 2-5 2-2 1 5 7

3 Aden Pemberton 0-0 0-2 0-0 0 1 0

14 Kaedyn Bennett 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

25 Josh Blunk 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 7-16 19-39 8-9 14 18 53

EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL TIGERS (51)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

4 Justin Waiz, f 3-6 4-8 4-6 7 0 15

3 Caleb Stewart, f 0-0 6-8 5-5 6 0 17

41 Evan Harding, c 0-1 1-3 0-0 3 2 2

22 Connor Agler, g 1-5 2-10 2-2 2 2 7

1 Jace Graham, g 0-1 0-2 0-0 1 2 0

12 Lucas Hoffman 0-0 2-3 2-2 4 2 6

15 Garland Hall 0-0 0-0 2-2 1 2 0

14 Andrew Helmerich 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 0 2

Totals 4-13 15-34 17-20 25 10 51

Bedford NL 11 10 15 17 – 53

Evan. Memorial 8 14 9 20 – 51

Turnovers – BNL 8, Memorial 13

Field goal percentage – BNL 19-39 (.487); Memorial 15-34 (.441)

Free throw percentage – BNL 8-9 (.889); Memorial 17-20 (.850)

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