BNL saves best for last with flawless 65-50 victory over Evansville North

BNL sophomore guard Colton Staggs fires from long range. Staggs scored a career-high 17 points as the Stars finished the regular season with an impressive 65-50 win over Evansville North on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence saved its best for last. And it was spectacular, a definite signature triumph that qualifies as the premier victory of the campaign.

In the farewell game of the regular season, and the final appearance on Damon Bailey Court for six seniors, the Stars approached clinical perfection, tearing apart Evansville North with the ultimate in execution, patience and poise. Every team basketball team in Indiana plans on peaking for the postseason, and BNL displayed what that looks like.

Colton Staggs scored a career-high 17 points as the Stars (12-10) smacked the Huskies 65-50, extending their winning streak to three straight for a springboard into the sectional next week. Ben Cosner added 14 points, powering BNL through a flawless first half. Staggs was the catalyst in the final two quarters, although everyone had key moments and contributions as four scored in double figures.

The Huskies (13-8) are a team with bark and bite, with dangerous scorers, with quickness and athleticism. BNL muzzled them. The Stars never trailed, never let up after blasting to a double-digit lead in the first half and pushing out to a 15-point lead in the fourth.

“We’ve talked all year about winning a game maybe we weren’t supposed to win,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “We did it tonight. It’s a great time to do it before the tournament, it should give us a great boost of confidence, winning three games in a row. That’s the way you want to be playing.”

BNL was outstanding in so many facets. First was scoring balance, with Colten Leach totaling 12 points and Kooper Staley adding 10. Second was ball control, with BNL guilty of only 3 turnovers – all in the third quarter. And third was defense as North star Chandler Moore (who had averaged 26.7 over his last three games) was limited to 14.

“The big thing was the balance,” Hein said. “Staggs had a great game again, Cosner played well, Leach played well, Kooper Staley played really well. He played within himself, didn’t try to do too much. I just love looking at the scorebook and seeing that balance.”

The most impressive burst came in the second quarter. BNL hammered out a 15-2 run, not surrendering a basket until the 1:56 mark. Staggs and Cosner started the breakout with 3-pointers, Leach raced to a fast-break layup, Aden Pemberton popped free for a 4-footer in the paint, and Cosner capped the explosion with two free throws for a 28-15 lead.

BNL senior Ben Cosner swoops under the rim for a reverse layup. Cosner scored 14 points.

After taking a 30-20 halftime lead and struggling through a brief lapse to open the third quarter, BNL took off again, with Pemberton roaring the length of the court for a basket after grabbing a rebound, with Staley swishing a wing bomb, with Pemberton beating a press for a 10-footer in the lane.

When Staggs started the fourth quarter with a off-balance, flying horizontal, hitting-the-deck shot from the paint, giving BNL a 42-27 lead, North coach Jason Roach just had to shrug his shoulders.

“I think he could have thrown the ball in backwards,” Roach said. “He did a good job. They just played better than we did.

“We have a way of having guys play really well against us. Tip you hat to them. They hit big shots. They had great finishes. Our kids played hard, but overall they just outplayed us. We got beat by a better team.”

BNL finished by shredding North’s pressure, and it was usually Staggs in attack mode. He had 11 points in the final period as he reset his career high for the second straight night. He’s now hit 10 of his last 11 shots, by the way.

“Just confidence is all it is,” Staggs said. “It started in the Jennings County game and it’s been here ever since. Just hit shots, make plays. Coach Hein said to keep going, keep attacking.”

BNL’s Kooper Staley launches a jumper over North star Chandler Moore. Staley totaled 10 points.

BNL never relaxed. North’s Ryan Caddell kept ripping treys during a late surge, yet BNL didn’t falter. The Stars were 11 of 12 at the line in the last three minutes. And with no turnovers.

“Against that kind of pressure,” Hein said. ”That’s remarkable against that length and athleticism. We attacked when we needed to attack, we played a very cerebral game, which was what we needed to beat a team like that.

“You have to keep attacking. If you have a chance to step on their throat, you step on their throat. We did that.”

Caddell finished with 21 points, including 5 3-pointers, for North. Moore was 6 of 15 from the floor to get his 14 points.

BNL had already celebrated Senior Night earlier this season, just in case to avoid shutdowns. But in reality, this was the home finale for Cosner, Staley, Jackson Miracle, Pemberton, Josh Blunk and Austin Messmore. And on this night, they got a huge lift from the sophomore with the blond tuft of hair.

“It’s sad, but it was a great experience,” Cosner said. “We played a great game together, it was a good way to go out as a team. This is probably our first game where all of us just played to our best ability. Staggs has stepped up big time for us. He’s really played great.”

BNL, which has won five of the last six games, will now seek to keep its momentum when it faces Seymour in the opening game of Class 4A Sectional 15 at Seymour on Tuesday.

BNL’s Colten Leach drives around North’s Aidan Blackford. Leach totaled 12 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

23 Chandler Moore, f 1-7 6-15 1-1 4 3 14

33 Cameron Gehlhausen, f 0-2 0-5 1-4 3 4 1

10 Dom Redding, f 0-0 4-7 0-1 4 0 9

30 Ryan Caddell, g 5-11 7-14 2-2 5 0 21

22 Aidan Blackford, g 0-1 1-3 0-1 6 3 2

5 Matthew Bunnell 0-1 0-2 0-0 0 1 0

31 Mason Wicks 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 1 0

42 Delavion Crenshaw 1-1 1-2 0-0 1 3 3

1 Capoleton Presswood 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

Totals 7-22 19-48 5-10 28 16 50


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 2-7 5-14 2-2 4 1 14

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 0-2 0-0 6 3 0

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 5-8 2-4 4 2 12

12 Kooper Staley, g 2-5 4-7 0-0 4 3 10

22 Colton Staggs, g 2-2 5-6 5-6 5 1 17

3 Aden Pemberton 0-1 3-4 0-0 2 2 6

15 Kaedyn Bennett 0-0 1-1 4-4 0 0 6

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

41 Austin Messmore 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

14 Grant Todd 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

13 Houston Corbin 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

5 Dylan Nikirk 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-15 23-42 13-16 26 12 65

Evan. North 13 7 7 23 – 50

Bedford NL 13 17 10 25 – 65

Turnovers – Evan. North 5, BNL 3

Field goal percentage – Evan. North 19-48 (.396); BNL 23-42 (.548)

Free throw percentage – Evan. North 5-10 (.500); BNL 13-16 (.813)