By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Currency in this country, and license plates in Indiana, is printed with an official motto. Bedford North Lawrence has now adopted a basketball version of that famous phrase. In Godlevske, the Stars trust. His jumper was money.
Four straight times in the fourth quarter. Three from deep in the left corner, his favorite spot. With a license to fire, with cold blood and an assassin’s heart masked behind that boy’s grin, Noah Godlevske launched the bombs that devastated South Knox, at the same time powering BNL to a victory, and it’s importance cannot be overstated.
Just 24 hours after the Stars shot like they were blindfolded, Godlevske exploded during a can’t-miss fourth quarter as the Stars conquered the Spartans 47-40 on Saturday night. Godlevske scored 14 points, all in the second half, as BNL (5-4) recovered from a nightmare road trip with a dreamscape win.
Here’s the setting: BNL was clinging to a 30-27 lead early in the fourth quarter. Each possession was magnified and crucial. Don’t forget, during the previous night’s perilous journey to Evansville, the Stars couldn’t hit the pool from the diving board. Missed 44 shots. Godlevske came to Saturday morning’s practice and practically wore out the shooting machine and his right arm. Shot, after shot, after shot, after shot.
Swish. He drilled a trey. Bang. Next trip, different spot, same result. Now he’s feeling it. Again. Catch and shoot. Boom. And finally, after the Spartans caught on, he gathered another pass in that corner, faked and stepped forward as a defender flew past, and stroked a 15-footer. Four in a row. In that span, the Stars shot to a 41-30 lead, and that was enough.
What an amazing turnaround. From brick masons to deadly snipers. Godlevske hit all five of his shots in the second half, BNL was 10 of 13 during the final two quarters.
“We shot it a lot better, didn’t we?” BNL coach Jeff Hein said, then had to smile. “That’s an understatement. Proud of the way we played in the second half. We were able to put them away, build that lead. To be able to dig down says a lot about our kids, how hard they compete, how bad they want to win.”
The change defies description. These were the same guys? Perhaps the shooting woes are Reitz were the anomaly. Godlevske hit 88 of 100 treys during the morning workout, jacked up over 200 shots total, and found his confidence was not lacking. Oh, to be a fearless teen once again.
“Last night wasn’t very pretty,” Godlevske said. “We needed to redeem ourselves and show what we can really do. We weren’t proud of ourselves. I think we redeemed ourselves. We needed it, big time. We talked about confidence. We knew that would be a good team, we had to be confident in our skills and ability to beat them. That helped.”
What also helped was BNL’s deliberate tempo, a 2-3 zone defense that also slowed the Spartans, and a second-half surge to the front. It all started with a Colten Leach jumper that spun around the rim twice before falling for a 24-22 lead. Godlevske followed with a steal and breakaway to a 3-point play, and Kaedyn Bennett connected from another area code for a 30-25 advantage going to the fourth.
“That’s what you have to do to win games,” Hein said. “The second half we played really well. Playing with the lead enabled us to get what we wanted in the fourth quarter. Noah has such a nice looking shot. If he’s on the floor and he’s open, he’s going to shoot it. We had the lead, spread them out, got him some space to get the shots off.”
At first, South Knox (7-4) was the aggressor, especially on the offensive glass. Sam Singleton drove the baseline for a 3-point play, turned a steal into a runout, and converted a second chance into a bucket for a 20-20 deadlock at the half.
Despite attempting only one shot before intermission, Godlevske stayed patient, lurking in that corner in front of the BNL bench.
“I knew it would come,” he said. “I knew they would find me. They got me the ball and I just knocked them down. I know I can make it. If you start overthinking, that’s when you miss it.”
Colten Leach added 10 points and 8 boards as BNL won the fourth straight in the brief series.
Singleton finished with 14 points, Dakota Candler added 9 for South Knox, which got only six possessions during the third quarter, seemed frustrated by BNL’s rare shift to zone defense, and lost track of BNL’s best perimeter threat in the fourth.
“We had to change our defense, do some things we don’t normally do to speed the tempo back up,” South Knox coach David Burkett said. “We’ve got to get over our mental block of our offense slowing down against a 2-3 zone. We have to be as quick against a zone as we are in man situations.”
BNL will host county rival Mitchell on Friday.
SOUTH KNOX SPARTANS (40)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
32 Dakota Candler, f 0-2 2-6 5-8 8 3 9
2 Sam Singleton, f 0-1 6-12 2-2 4 2 14
20 Jackson Thomas, g 0-0 3-5 0-0 2 4 6
24 Jackson Hoops, g 1-3 1-5 0-2 4 1 3
4 Dylan Maeder, g 2-3 2-5 2-2 3 0 8
23 Clayton Peterson 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
5 Evan Thompson 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 2 0
Totals 3-11 14-34 9-14 24 12 40
BEDFORD NL STARS (47)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
4 Kaedyn Bennett, f 2-5 2-5 2-3 1 4 8
2 Colten Leach, f 0-1 5-10 0-0 8 3 10
22 Colton Staggs, g 1-3 2-4 1-2 0 1 6
1 Trace Rynders, g 1-3 1-3 0-0 3 0 3
11 Noah Godlevske, g 3-3 5-6 1-1 1 0 14
34 Jett Jones 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 3 3
14 Kole Bailey 1-2 1-2 0-0 1 4 3
Totals 9-18 17-31 4-6 14 15 47
South Knox 13 7 5 15 – 40
Bedford NL 12 8 10 17 – 47
Turnovers – South Knox 8, BNL 8
Field goal percentage – South Knox 14-34 (.411); BNL 17-31 (.548)
Free throw percentage – South Knox 9-14 (.642); BNL 4-6 (.667)