Bailey’s triple-double powers BNL past New Palestine in Bush Classic finale

BNL senior Brayton Bailey soars to the basket during Saturday night’s final round of the Danny Bush Classic. Bailey recorded a triple-double as the Stars stopped New Palestine 70-55.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – In a battle of basketball gladiators, Bedford North Lawrence’s Brayton Bailey had more weapons. Sword, shield and spear were drawn, a triple threat for the kid who posted a rare triple-double in a Roman-esque performance.

Bailey totaled 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 12 assists, one of the single-game best shows in BNL Fieldhouse, definitely the best in the brief history of the Danny Bush Classic, as BNL cut down New Palestine 70-55 for fifth place in the inaugural event.

New Pal had its own warrior, a shooter appropriately named Maximus, who was fierce to defend. Bailey got more support, the reason the Stars (6-5) were able to split their four games in the two-day tournament with a bounce-back victory from the morning loss to University.

Bailey was simply sensational. On the court named for his famous father – who, by the way, had three triple-doubles as a senior – the second-generation Star was a star. His team around him, made better by his presence, raised to a new level as Trey Mollet scored 15 points and Kooper Staley fired in 11 in a welcome-back effort.

Everything centered on No.22. He scored in the lane, penetrated and passed to open partners for easy conversions, and did so without flair or look-at-me theatre. All of it was necessary to win, the only goal.

“I’m not trying to do that, I’m just trying to win,” Bailey said. “If that’s what it takes, then it needs to happen. I‘m just glad we got the win.”

Maximus the Dragon was New Pal’s Maximus Gizzi, who sizzled with 29 points in a personal duel. He tried to carry the slain Dragons (2-6) on his shield, but New Pal never recovered from BNL’s torrid start (13-4 before the Dragons got a bucket). BNL felt the Dragons’ breath when they got close (within 4 twice in the third quarter), but Bailey orchestrated an answer each time.

BNL’s Zach Sasser came off the beach to provide a spark with 7 points and 6 rebounds.

The best can thrive while showcasing others, and that was Bailey. He was amazing at snatching a rebound, taking off in transition, and finding a cutting teammate for a layup. He was magical in twisting and turning through lane defenders and setting up someone else. That’s a true gift.

“There’s no question,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “He’s getting the attention. There’s two different ways to play us. A lot of teams try to pack the middle and leave our shooters open. Others say to let him get his 38 and we’ll beat you anyway. We have to be ready for both. We’re more efficient when we have that balance. One guy can’t win games for you.”

One guy didn’t win this one. Staley, silent since scoring 17 at South Knox, buried three treys in the first half as BNL zipped to a 36-27 lead. Mollet had 8 third-quarter points to help repel the New Pal approach. And Zach Sasser, playing limited minutes after starting the first two games of the season, was huge in relief with 7 points and 6 boards.

“We had some big minutes played by guys off the bench,” Hein said. “Zach Sasser was huge. Every dog has his day. Here’s a kid who hasn’t played a ton of minutes for us, but in this game, it was a good time to get him in there. He did a great job.

“Everybody contributed and that has to happen for us to be very good. Five guys on the floor, playing well on both ends.”

Gizzi defied the BNL scouting report with 6 treys. He’s more like Bailey in his preference to drive. The difference was New Palestine – known as a football power and rightfully so – didn’t have extra firepower. Dawson Eastes had 11 points, but the Dragons were only 9 of 28 from long range.

BNL’s Kooper Staley hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points.

“Gizzi is a load,” Hein said. “He made some shots outside, not something we expected. But it was all right. Still got the win.”

“He’s a lot like Bailey,” New Pal coach Trent Whitaker said of the best players on the court. “Their games are very similar. Maximus can shoot the ball from outside, he just prefers not to. He needs to, as we saw tonight. Bailey sees the floor very well. If he gets in the paint, he’s not always going to shoot.”

Not always.

Damon had triple-doubles against Washington, Mitchell and Evansville Central during that glorious 1990 campaign. The last BNL player to reach such rarified air is a cloudy question.

In other final-round games:

Fishers 47, University 37: Class 4A No.8 Fishers (11-0) won the championship game as Jeffrey Simmons scored 19 points. Max Greenamoyer had 15 for University (8-3).

Bloomington North 78, Milan 42: North blew out the Indians in the third-place contest as Isaac Vencel tallied 19 points. Carsyn Ascherman had 15 for the Indians.

Scottsburg 56, Evansville Harrison 52: The purple Warriors rallied in the fourth quarter for their first win of the tournament as Nick Sebastiao totaled 23 points. Terrence Ringo had 18 points for Harrison.

BNL will return to action at Warren Central on Jan. 3.


Brayton Bailey, BNL

Jeffrey Simmons, Fishers

Isaac Vencel, Bloomington North

Max Greenamoyer, University

Maximus Gizzi, New Palestine

Peyton Wert, Milan

BNL’s Brayton Bailey looks for an open teammate while attacking New Palestine’s Dawson Eastes.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

5 Eric Roudebush, f 1-2 2-5 2-4 5 1 7

33 Dawson Eastes, f 0-2 3-9 5-5 4 3 11

44 Matthew Brown, c 0-0 0-2 0-0 2 2 0

11 Maximus Gizzi, g 6-12 10-18 3-5 4 4 29

24 Steele Brasfield, g 2-6 2-6 0-0 3 2 6

14 Blaine Nunnally 0-4 0-5 0-0 3 1 0

21 Maurice McGee 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

3 Eli Stephens 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 1 0

13 Kyle Bastian 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 0 2

22 Logan Hovis 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 9-28 18-47 10-14 24 14 55


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

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

13 Kooper Staley, g 3-8 4-9 0-0 4 1 11

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-0 9-14 7-7 10 2 25

1 Trey Mollet, g 3-8 6-16 0-0 2 1 15

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 1-1 0-1 0 3 2

11 Ben Cosner 0-0 2-2 2-2 2 1 6

21 Zach Sasser 0-0 2-3 3-5 6 1 7

20 Colton Staggs 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-16 26-47 12-14 28 12 70

New Palestine 9 18 16 12 – 55

Bedford NL 20 16 15 19 – 70

Turnovers – New Palestine 8, BNL 9

Field goal percentage – New Palestine 18-47 (.382); BNL 26-47 (.553)

Free throw percentage – New Palestine 10-14 (.714); BNL 12-14 (.857)