Hail, Hydra! Two Stars take one’s place as No.7 BNL charges to victory over Castle

BNL’s Chloe Spreen looks for a driving lane against Castle. Spreen came back from a one-game absence with 19 points as the Stars stopped Castle 76-57 on Saturday.

By Justin Sokeland


BEDFORD – According to Greek mythology, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when one head of the monster Hydra was cut off, two more would take its place. Made it difficult, unless the legend Heracles or the comic book superheroes appeared, to vanquish.

Bedford North Lawrence is basketball’s version of that beast. Cut off one star, two more take her place.

With senior point guard Karsyn Norman sidelined by foul trouble, and ultimately disqualified in a rare early departure, two Stars appeared to inflict damage on Castle. No.7 BNL expected to face a possible short-handed situation, but it turned out to be someone else. And it was also no problem.

Chloe Spreen returned from a one-game injury absence, while veterans Mallory Pride and Madisyn Bailey were the serpents that bit the Knights as the Stars conquered Castle 76-57 during an electric Saturday afternoon matinee victory. Spreen, showing no slow down from the sprained ankle that hobbled her earlier in the week, had 19 points as BNL (16-3) raced past the young Knights for the fifth straight win in the series.

Spreen, even at 80 percent (her self-evaluation) of normal, is still better than most at 100. But it was the void-filling contributions of Pride (17 points) and Bailey (16) that made Norman’s foul issues a non-factor. Hail, Hydra.

“They’re a good team,” Castle coach Bob Meier said. “They’ve got more than two players, and they showed that. They played with a lot of purpose, the way to do things.”

Under normal circumstances, Castle (10-8) is a defensive snake, waiting to strike, coiled and quick. BNL has struggled against its swarming in the past. Not this time. Castle started two freshmen and a sophomore, and youth has to learn what it takes to defend on an elite level. The Stars shot a crisp 63 percent.

“We passed the ball pretty well,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “That always makes you a better shooter, getting the ball in position to do something with it. Their pressure is really intense up front, but if you can get it out and reversed, you have opportunities.”

BNL’s Madisyn Bailey attacks the defense. Bailey had 16 points.

Spreen and Norman got the Stars started, either with buckets or assists (especially the Norman steal and layup off a mid-air pass back from Spreen) for a 14-6 takeoff. Castle kept in contact, with treys from Daisey Lowe and Kenzie Holderfield, with free throws from slick sophomore guard Jordan Scott, at 25-22.

The second pair of Scott free throws came after Norman’s third foul with 6:58 left in the half. That could have been a Castle opening. Instead, the Stars took off. Spreen rose for a soft hook in the paint, Emma Brown bombed a wing trey, Tori Nikirk came off the bench for another trey for the first double-digit lead. The Stars then closed the half with the last six points, thanks to Bailey’s layup, Spreen’s 12-footer and her rebound off a missed free throw, for a stunning 46-28 lead at the half.

“You can’t take possessions off,” Meier said. “In the first half, we did some good things. By halftime, they stretched it out to the point it was tough to see some in-game success. That was the value of their experience.”

BNL’s excellent balance continued in the second half. Pride scored twice inside, Emma Crane and Katie Baumgart converted close-range buckets off pinpoint passes, and Bailey’s rebound bucket to start the fourth quarter gave BNL its biggest lead (68-39).

Norman, who was whistled for three offensive fouls in her constant attack of the lane, fouled out late in the third quarter with 9 points. No problem. Spreen, Pride and Bailey combined to hit 20 of 30 shots. Pride also had another double-double (her fourth in the last seven games) with 10 rebounds. “We’re always prepared,” Spreen said. “That’s a big part of it.”

BNL’s Mallory Pride takes a hit in the lane. Pride had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

“Those two kids stepped up,” Allen said. “I was amazed how well Chloe played. I didn’t know what to expect. She looked pretty good out there.”

Spreen spent most of the week in a walking boot and therapy. The ankle is still discolored, but her improvement was rapid and her game still smooth.

“It was pretty good,” she said. “It was fun, I missed it. It’s my life. It’s good to be back. I’ve taken care of myself, trying to get back as fast as I could.“

Devyn Barton, the one returning starter from a year ago, paced the Knights with 17 points. Scott finished with 12, although she was scoreless in the second half. BNL owned a huge 36-16 rebounding edge, finally finding an opponent even more vertically challenged.

“Bunch of guards, we have a chance,” Allen said with a smile. “We hurt them on the offensive glass. Their kids are young, they’ll get better.”

“It’s the consistency,” Meier said, “especially coming to play Bedford.”

BNL will now start the final surge of the regular season, facing a three-game road trip that starts at Columbus East on Tuesday.

BNL’s Karsyn Norman scored 9 points before fouling out late in the third quarter.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

11 Jayden Scott, f 1-3 1-3 0-0 2 2 3

10 Paiton Mitchell, g 1-4 1-4 0-0 1 2 3

24 Jordan Scott, g 0-3 4-9 4-4 1 3 12

30 Devyn Barton, g 0-2 7-17 3-4 3 3 17

25 Kenzie Holderfield, g 2-5 2-5 0-0 0 0 6

33 Daisey Lowe 1-2 3-7 1-2 2 0 8

22 Sadie Winsett 0-0 2-4 1-1 3 3 5

21 Izabell Grantz 0-0 1-3 1-2 0 0 3

12 Emma Sanflilippo 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 2 0

32 Josie Hayden 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

40 Emma Marschel 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 5-20 21-53 10-13 16 15 57


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 1-1 8-12 2-3 7 0 19

22 Mallory Pride, f 0-0 6-10 5-6 10 0 17

24 Madisyn Bailey, g 0-1 6-8 4-4 2 0 16

20 Emma Brown, g 2-3 2-5 0-2 5 2 6

21 Karsyn Norman, g 1-1 4-6 0-0 3 5 9

40 Bella Jackson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

32 Trinidy Bailey 0-0 0-1 0-2 3 1 0

12 Tori Nikirk 1-3 1-3 0-0 1 2 3

50 Emma Crane 0-0 1-1 0-0 2 0 2

3 Katie Baumgart 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 0 2

44 Ellie Tillett 0-0 1-1 0-0 0 1 2

23 Katie Godlevske 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

11 Haleigh Canada 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 5-9 30-48 11-17 36 12 76

Castle 18 10 11 18 – 57

Bedford NL 23 23 20 10 – 76

Turnovers – Castle 12, BNL 18

Field goal percentage – Castle 21-53 (.396); BNL 30-48 (.625)

Free throw percentage – Castle 10-13 (.769); BNL 11-17 (.647)