By Justin Sokeland
ELLETTSVILLE – Edgewood hit ‘em with its best shot, firing away, and hit ‘em with the late clutch shots. Even after getting back on its feet again, rallying from 16 down to take the lead, Bedford North Lawrence finally went down.
The Mustangs hit everything at first, and star forward Coleman Sater didn’t miss as Edgewood extended its winning streak to five, winning a battle with more momentum swings than a scripted professional wrestling match.
After exploding to a 16-point lead, after the Stars scrambled back, Sater was smooth at the foul line to fend off BNL 65-60 on Saturday night. Sater scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and he was 14 of 15 from the free-throw line. Guarded or not, he was the difference.
Give the Stars (6-7) credit for moxie. Most teams would have folded after Edgewood hit its first six shots, after the Mustangs (10-4) galloped to a 33-17 lead midway through the second quarter. And after Edgewood pushed ahead by 10 in the final 90 seconds. BNL had a 3-pointer in the air to force a tie. Imagine that.
But the comeback faltered, at least that one. It was the second rally of the night. The first got BNL a 46-44 lead with six minutes left. The second was necessary after an 0-for-7 slump and Edgewood free throws got the Mustangs a 59-49 advantage.
“We weathered the storm early, were able to get it back in the fourth quarter, and we didn’t have very good possessions where we could have dictated the game,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “We didn’t give up. We kept playing hard. We didn’t make some plays, some shots we needed to for it to go our way. We found a way to give ourselves a chance in the end.”
The start was spectacular. Neither team missed. BNL hit its first four shots and trailed 15-11, and that’s tough to do. Caden Huttenlocker, a mop-topped junior, was on fire with 9 first-quarter points, and Sean Sims stroked two treys as the Mustangs rushed to a 20-12 lead.
They extended to the 16-point margin before the Stars started to surge. Jackson Miracle scored three times and Kooper Staley hit two bombs to get Edgewood in sight at 35-28 at the half.
BNL’s defense finally locked down in the second half, and Colten Leach took command in the paint, driving at will and scoring. Miracle’s rebound basket and two Leach free throws drew the Stars even at 42-42 heading to the fourth. When the Stars started the final frame with Ben Cosner’s steal and layup and Miracle’s baseline jumper, BNL was poised to complete the furious comeback.
Then the scoring drought. Then Sater, money at the right time, scored twice from the paint and made six straight free throws. And the Stars were in trouble.
“Life on the road is not easy,” Hein said. “We could have folded. We didn’t. I don’t like losing, don’t get get me wrong. At the same time there were lessons learned.”
Last lesson, Valvano style, is don’t give up, don’t ever give up. Colton Staggs started a miracle run in the final minute with two free throws, a rebound of his own miss, and a 3-point play as Edgewood missed from the line and turned it over. After Sims hit a free throw for a 63-60 lead, Kaedyn Bennett misfired from the long right wing and Aden Pemberton was hacked in the rebound scramble. He missed the 1-and-1, and Sater clinched it with two more free throws with 10 seconds left.
In addition to Sater, who had five assists in the first half, Huttenlocker totaled 17 points (14 in the first half) and Zeke Powell had 11. But the big blonde kid in the paint was clutch at the line as Sater went 8 for 8 in the final quarter.
“When you watch him play, it’s really a question of what can he not do,” Edgewood coach Matt Wadsworth said. “A nice, complete game for him.”
Even after roaring back for a brief lead, BNL could point to the opening quarter as the main problem. Edgewood was 7 of 10 in the first quarter and 12 of 17 in the first half. That’s not BNL’s best, nor its preferred pace.
“They’ve done a good job of slowing the tempo down against people,” Wadsworth said. “Obviously our fast start, shooting well in particular, was huge for us.”
“We didn’t have a very good first quarter defensively, but they hit a lot of shots, some difficult shots,” Hein said. “And they knocked them in, you have to give them credit.”
Leach finished with 16 points before fouling out. Staley had 12 before he exited. BNL was whistled for 23 fouls and Edgewood was 25 of 35 from the line, most of that late as BNL tried to extend the game. Staggs and Miracle had 10 apiece.
The Stars will host Jeffersonville on Friday.
BEDFORD NL STARS (60)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
11 Ben Cosner, f 1-3 4-6 0-1 5 4 9
31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 5-7 0-0 4 3 10
24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 6-12 4-5 5 5 16
12 Kooper Staley, g 3-9 4-12 1-2 3 5 16
3 Aden Pemberton, g 1-1 1-2 0-1 1 3 3
22 Colton Staggs 1-4 3-6 3-3 3 3 10
15 Kaedyn Bennett 0-2 0-2 0-0 1 0 0
Totals 6-19 23-47 8-12 23 26 60
EDGEWOOD MUSTANGS (65)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
5 Coleman Sater, f 0-0 4-7 14-15 12 1 22
11 Landon Ringler, f 0-1 0-1 2-3 3 1 2
10 Caden Huttenlocker, g 2-7 6-12 3-6 4 2 17
23 Sean Sims, g 2-3 2-3 1-4 1 4 7
21 Zeke Powell, g 2-3 3-4 3-5 1 4 11
3 Aidan Goerges 0-1 1-2 2-2 0 1 4
22 Henry Doering 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 0 2
2 Xzander Hammonds 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 6-15 17-30 25-35 19 13 65
Bedford NL 12 16 14 18 – 60
Edgewood 20 15 7 23 – 65
Turnovers – BNL 9, Edgewood 9
Field goal percentage – BNL 23-47 (.489); Edgewood 17-30 (.567)
Free throw percentage – BNL 8-12 (.667); Edgewood 25-35 (.714)