Blue swarm of defense powers No.4 BNL to showdown victory over No.10 Jennings

NORTH VERNON – BNL’s Chloe Spreen attacks a defender off the dribble. Spreen had 19 points as the Stars conquered Jennings County 50-34 on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

NORTH VERNON – The people with the most fingerprints on Bedford North Lawrence’s biggest victory of the season scored the fewest points. Defense travels, and it wins. The Stars stamped that imprint on an impressive triumph in a early-season clash of ranked sectional contenders.

BNL’s Carlee Kern and Madisyn Bailey, quiet on the offensive end, made the most noise on the other, and Jennings County had to scream a little in frustration. The Panthers went over 8 minutes without scoring, and that always equals trouble, if not doom against high-quality competition.

While Chloe Spreen and Karsyn Norman were the scoring catalysts, Kern and Bailey were the stoppers, and the No.4 Stars put a temporary stop to Jennings’ challenge for the Hoosier Hills Conference lead with a 50-34 win on Tuesday night. Spreen scored 19 and Norman added 17 as BNL (7-1, 2-0 in the league) extended its streak of might and misery against the No.10 Panthers to 22 consecutive wins.

The end was scripted without warning. Jennings battled to a 17-17 deadlock on Alivia Elmore’s lane drive with 5:06 left in the second quarter. That would be the last JC points for the next 8:17, and the Stars blasted to a 15-point lead during that span. The difference never got below double digits after that.

Kern was locked on Jennings star Juliann Woodard, who had been a huge thorn in BNL’s claws during two meetings last season. Woodard was limited to 8 points (half her average). Bailey was smothering point guard Kali Thompson, who didn’t score. That was the difference.

“I thought Carlee Kern and Madisyn Bailey were outstanding on the defensive end,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “And then you add the other kids that are really quick and work together, our defense was really good. I was really pleased with a great defensive effort.”

Elmore kept the Panthers (7-1, 1-1) within range with her early barrage, including a trey from the key for a 15-14 lead. But from that point, BNL constricted and suffocated the Jennings offense. The Stars took control with a 10-0 run to close the first half, with Norman’s dash to a layup, with Spreen’s 3-pointer from the key, and with Norman’s breakout layup.

NORTH VERNON – BNL’s Mallory Pride totaled 8 points and 8 rebounds.

When Mallory Pride opened the third quarter with a 6-footer in the lane, when Spreen followed with another bomb over the JC zone, all the expectations of a battle royale between 4A powers were wiped away.

“This was huge,” Spreen said. “We worked so hard for this game, getting prepared for this. We wanted to show them what we’ve got. We did our thing.”

Norman kept the Panthers at bay while hitting all four of her shots in the final frame. Not that Jennings was poised for a comeback. The Panthers had only 4 baskets during the middle quarters, with BNL’s blue swarm of defenders wearing them down and taking them out.

“We felt like that was something that could happen if we played well,” Allen said. “And then we got out and ran. They’re a really good team, but we played well defensively and they didn’t make shots. It affects you when you get open looks and miss.”

NORTH VERNON – BNL’s Karsyn Norman looks for an opening in transition. Norman scored 17 points.

Spreen hit four treys as the main part of her assault. Norman caught fire late after a sluggish start, and Pride – the focal point of BNL’s help against the main JC threats – totaled 8 points for that key third option.

Elmore finished with 12 points before fouling out. Woodard grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and Lily Ernstes totaled 9 points. But Jennings converted only 15 of 40 shots. Bailey had 7 rebounds and 6 assists, more proof of her profound impact on the outcome.

“I had to make sure they didn’t get a bunch of shots off and get hot,” Bailey said. “They started to struggle handling the ball, and we just put more pressure on them.”

“It’s a great win against one of the better teams in Southern Indiana,” Allen said. “This puts us in the driver’s seat. We have a lot of conference games to play, but this was a hurdle, that’s for sure. And it gives us another quality win on the road. We continue to mature in tough-game situations. We grew up a little bit more. We really shared the ball well. We got good movement, and we saw the ball go in the basket.”

BNL will continue its three-game conference road trip, visiting New Albany on Saturday afternoon.

NORTH VERNON – BNL’s Carlee Kern scores from close range. Kern was a defensive star for the Stars, holding JC center Juliann Woodard to 8 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 4-8 7-16 1-2 3 2 19

24 Carlee Kern, f 0-1 1-3 0-0 3 2 2

22 Mallory Pride, f 0-0 3-8 2-4 8 1 8

32 Madisyn Bailey, g 0-1 1-2 0-1 7 0 2

21 Karsyn Norman, g 2-8 7-14 1-2 1 1 17

31 Ella Turner 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 1 2

50 Emma Crane 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

23 Hadley Teague 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-18 20-45 4-10 28 7 50


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

33 Lily Ernstes, f 0-2 4-8 1-1 1 2 9

22 Megan Vogel, f 0-0 1-2 0-0 2 0 2

00 Juliann Woodard, c 0-3 4-10 0-2 14 2 8

14 Kali Thompson, g 0-1 0-2 0-0 0 3 0

20 Alivia Elmore, g 2-5 5-11 0-0 4 5 12

12 Morgan Lane 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 0 0

25 Alexis Carson 0-2 0-2 0-0 3 0 0

5 Madelyn McIntosh 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 0 3

Totals 3-18 15-40 1-3 27 12 34

Bedford NL 15 12 11 12 – 50

Jennings Co. 15 2 7 10 – 34

Turnovers – BNL 7, JC 13

Field goal percentage – BNL 20-45 (.444); JC 15-40 (.375)

Free throw percentage – BNL 4-10 (.400); JC 1-3 (.333)

NORTH VERNON – BNL’s Madisyn Bailey had 7 rebounds and 6 assists.