Miracle the man as BNL ends sectional slump with first-round victory over Seymour

SEYMOUR – BNL senior Jackson Miracle lofts a short-range shot over Seymour defenders. Miracle scored a season-high 13 points as the Stars stopped the Owls 52-38 in the first round of Sectional 15 on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland


SEYMOUR – Bedford North Lawrence finally ended its one-and-done postseason skid. A miracle? Nope, but a true-in-blue Miracle certainly helped the Stars turn bitter water into something sweet.

With senior Jackson Miracle exploding from relative obscurity in recent outings to a big-time contributor, BNL conquered Seymour in the opening round of Class 4A Sectional 15 on Tuesday night.

Miracle scored 13 points, and sophomore Colten Leach took advantage of a second-half foul fest to total 15, as the Stars quieted the Owls 52-38. BNL (13-10) extended its winning streak to four straight and advanced to face New Albany in the first semifinal on Friday night.

Before a tidal wave of whistles – 35 fouls were called in the second half, and the teams combined to shoot a numbing 42 free throws in the fourth quarter – Miracle was the difference maker. He had 7 points in the second quarter, all in a row while Seymour struggled, and powered the Stars to a double-digit lead at the half.

Where did that come from? His teammates, particularly Leach with his penetration. Kooper Staley and Aden Pemberton also set up their target for easy layups when the Owls collapsed to stop dribblers in the paint.

“They did a great job of finding him,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “He caught some tough passes, and he went up strong.”

Nobody would blame Seymour coach Kirk Manns for shading his scouting report and defense elsewhere. Miracle had scored only 2 points in the previous three games, he had reached double figures only three times all year. Yet the tall kid with that black mop of curls, who depends on others to create his offense, was unaccounted for in the paint. And that’s where he hangs out.

“He’s the kind of kid who’s an energy guy,” Manns said. “He scores off penetration. Some of our rotations were a little slow, and he was able to free up and get the basketball in a postion where he could score. His points were really big.”

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Colten Leach attacks the interior. Leach had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists as BNL won its first sectional game since 2015.

BNL, which allowed only two points in the second quarter, took an 18-7 lead at intermission and added on with Staley’s four-point play to open the third quarter. Seymour scrambled back within 26-20 with three consecutive buckets from Andrew Levine, but a Miracle layup and two Leach free throws quelled that charge.

And then came the free-throw parade in the fourth. As the whistles echoed across Scott Gymnasium, the game had all the flow and sync of a vehicle missing on two cylinders . . . with no oil . . . and no air in the tires.

For the Stars, that didn’t matter much. Leach was deadly at the line, converting 9 of 10 in the final frame, and BNL was 20 of 24 overall. Seymour was forced into attack mode to lengthen the contest. It only delayed the inevitable.

“They uglied it up, that’s what they had to do,” Hein said. “We were able to withstand the run they made, and we were able to pull away.

“That’s been a while since we’ve seen those free-throw numbers, because the game has been called differently the last 15 years. This looks like an old scorebook.”

Staley added 11 points and Colton Staggs continued his stellar play with 8. Ben Cosner, one of the architects of the recent streak, was held scoreless before he fouled out. The Stars had other weapons. Miracle came up one point shy of his career high (last season against Madison).

“We had three big contributors,” Hein said. “Like I’ve said all year long, if you pick somebody, we have others. They picked on Ben, but he’s had some great games. They tried to take him away and it allowed the other guys to step up. It doesn’t matter. We’re a lot more balanced this year. So that plays into our hands.”

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Kooper Staley attracts a crowd while heading toward the rim. Staley scored 11 points.

Seymour (10-12) got 12 points and 11 rebounds from Eli Meyer while Levine totaled 8. The Owls, for the second straight time against BNL (which won the regular-season contest 44-36), started slow and didn’t have the firepower to recover.

“We got off to a slow start, and that’s what buried us the first time,” Manns said. “They do a really nice job of controlling tempo, and once they get up they’re very deliberate about what they’re doing, very selective in what they’re trying to get done.

“We needed to get off to a good start, we needed to hit some open shots, we needed to have some momentum. And we didn’t get it. We had a couple of opportunities when we got within six. From that point, we were completely in catch-up mode against a team that’s deliberate. That makes it hard to come back. They would have been content to spread us out and keep the ball away from us.”

BNL won its first sectional game since the 2015 semifinal round.

“It means a lot for our program,” Hein said. “We were so close last year (falling to Jennings County) but couldn’t get it done without Leach (who suffered a knee injury). So this was big.”

SEYMOUR – Colten Leach finds room to shoot over Seymour’s Casey Regruth.

Jeffersonville 57, Jennings County 39: In the second game of the first round, the Red Devils (13-6) completed a season sweep of the Panthers as Brandon Rayzer-Moore had 16 points.

Jaylen Fairman added 16 and Kobe Stoudemire totaled 13 for Jeffersonville, which advanced to clash with defending champion Floyd Central in the second semifinal.

Jacob Vogel had 16 points for the Panthers (12-11)


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Ben Cosner, f 0-0 0-2 0-0 3 5 0

31 Jackson Miracle, f 0-0 6-6 1-3 2 3 13

24 Colten Leach, g 0-0 2-8 11-12 7 5 15

12 Kooper Staley, g 1-2 2-6 6-7 2 4 11

22 Colton Staggs, g 1-2 2-3 3-4 3 2 8

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

15 Kaedyn Bennett 0-0 0-1 4-4 0 3 4

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

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

Totals 2-4 12-28 26-33 22 23 52


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

21 Casey Regruth, f 0-3 1-7 1-2 4 4 4

13 Marcus Brooks, f 0-2 1-5 4-4 2 2 6

24 Eli Meyer, f 0-0 3-7 6-9 11 5 12

2 Landon Fritsch, g 0-5 1-8 0-0 3 4 2

12 Charlie Longmeier, g 0-0 0-1 3-4 2 4 3

5 Bret Perry 1-1 1-2 0-0 1 2 3

11 Andrew Levine 1-2 3-4 1-2 1 2 8

Totals 2-13 10-33 16-22 24 23 38

Bedford NL 9 9 12 22 – 52

Seymour 5 2 15 16 – 38

Turnovers – BNL 8, Seymour 10

Field goal percentage – BNL 12-28 (.429); Seymour 10-33 (.303)

Free throw percentage – BNL 26-33 (.788); Seymour 16-22 (.727)