An ill wind blows as No.11 Jennings County pulls away from BNL, 51-40

Jennings County’s Keegan Manowitz battles BNL’s Kole Bailey for a rebound. Manowitz had 12 points as the 11th-ranked Panthers stopped the Stars 51-40 on Saturday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Keeping an explosive opponent bottled up is like raking leaves amidst a gusty breeze. Just a quick burst of energy creates a mess, wasting a lot of hard work. Doesn’t take long for control to be replaced by chaotic scrambling.

In the key opening minutes of the second half, after so much quality grinding and tempo dictation, Jennings County broke loose. Two minutes of breakdown, and that was enough to flip momentum. Bedford North Lawrence never got it back, and an opportunity for a monumental upset was gone with the wind.

After battling back from a second-quarter deficit, the No.11 Panthers pounced to start the third quarter, grabbing the lead and refusing to relinquish it while conquering the Stars 51-40 on Saturday night. Owen Law scored 15 points as Jennings (13-1 overall, 2-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) proved to be a great frontrunner. There was no catching up.

BNL (6-5, 1-1) started the second half with a Kole Bailey bomb for a 22-21 lead, but that triggered the best Jennings moments. Law cut back door for a layup and stroked a trey, followed by Justin Ramey’s rebound basket. That working margin was enough. BNL, playing to its grinding, patient strength, could not battle back with a serious threat.

“That was big,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “The most important part of every game is the first four minutes of the second half, and we lost it. That was the difference, We had put ourselves in position, and we needed to come out strong to start the second half., We didn’t and they did. That’s what good teams do.”

From that point, BNL’s death was by a thousand cuts. Keegan Manowitz came up with a steal for a breakaway and a 3-pointer from the key for a nine-point lead. BNL missed four huge free throws (including two one-and-one chances) in the fourth quarter that could have made Jennings squirm a little. And the Stars couldn’t cause any cracks in the Jennings armor. Playing with the lead was so vital.

BNL’s Kaedyn Bennett looks for a way past Jennings County’s Lane Zohrlaut. Bennett had 8 points.

“That was huge,” JC coach Josh Land said. “Bedford is a hard team to play from behind. (Colten) Leach and (Colton) Staggs can really break you down, and they’re a hard team to trap. Playing Bedford at Bedford is a tough game, not matter what your record is.

“It wasn’t a great night for us offensively. We never really got it going. Defensively, we did a good job and limited what they wanted to do. I don’t think they got anything too easy on us.”

Easy? Nothing about this could be labeled as such. BNL set the tone with its slow style, wisely refusing to run with a team that ranked sixth in the state in scoring. The Stars had their best moments early in the second frame, going on a 10-2 run with Noah Godlevske’s trey, Kaedyn Bennett’s long-range jumper from the key, and Leach’s rebound bucket. That gave BNL a 17-12 advantage. Then the ill winds started to blow.

Law was a crucial factor. He scored twice before the half to erase BNL’s lead. He was stuck on Leach, who totaled 12 points (and grabbed 15 rebounds) but was unable to cause his usual damage in the interior.

BNL’s Noah Godlevske seeks a way past Jennings star Keegan Manowitz.

“He was really good on both ends,” Land said. “He’s our best defensive player, he did a good job on Leach to keep him out of the paint and off the free-throw line. He hit some big shots. When he plays with confidence like that, he’s pretty good.”

Manowitz added 12 points for Jennings, which was ruthlessly efficient with only three turnovers. Bailey paced BNL with 15 as he hit all six of his shots in the second half.

“They tried to take our guards away,” Hein said. “You have to give them a lot of credit. Kole stepped up, but they took us out of what we wanted to do. A lot of our turnovers (12) were passing turnovers,. Getting sped up and not making good decisions. We have to take a deep breath, count to three and make a good decision.”

The Stars will visit Seymour on Friday night.

Colten Leach scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for BNL.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

21 Owen Law, f 2-6 6-10 1-1 1 1 15

20 Parker Elmore, f 1-1 3-4 0-0 6 1 7

40 Justin Ramey, c 0-1 2-4 2-2 4 1 6

22 Keegan Manowitz, g 2-3 4-9 2-2 3 4 12

5 Carter Kent, g 0-2 2-8 0-0 1 0 4

14 Lane Zohrlaut 0-0 2-4 0-2 4 4 4

4 Darius Thomas 0-0 0-0 3-4 1 2 3

32 Matt Hines 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

2 Cole Sigler 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 5-12 19-39 8-11 20 14 51


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

4 Kaedyn Bennett, f 2-4 2-5 2-2 1 4 8

2 Colten Leach, f 0-3 4-12 4-6 15 3 12

22 Colton Staggs, g 0-0 0-2 2-3 3 2 2

14 Kole Bailey, g 1-3 6-9 2-3 2 0 15

11 Noah Godlevske, g 1-3 1-3 0-0 1 2 3

1 Trace Rynders 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

34 Jett Jones 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

12 Maddox Ray 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 4-14 13-32 10-14 23 12 40

Jennings Co. 10 11 16 14 – 51

Bedford NL 7 12 11 10 – 40

Turnovers – Jennings County 3, BNL 12

Field goal percentage – Jennings 19-39 (.487); BNL 13-32 (.406)

Free throw percentage – Jennings 8-11 (.727); BNL 10-14 (.714)