With locked jaws and chisels, Stars hammer out tough 54-37 victory at Seymour

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Colten Leach rises for a jumper over defenders during Friday night’s road clash with Seymour. Leach had 20 points as the Stars hammered out a 54-37 win over the Owls.

By Justin Sokeland


SEYMOUR – No matter what it took, no matter how long it took. Piece by piece, possession by possession. The stone masons who hammered out this community’s foundation would be proud of this one. Bedford North Lawrence chiseled out a victory, and the finished product was a gem of a road win.

Strength, Mahatma Gandhi once said, does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will. The Stars had both on Friday night, showing the physicality and mental toughness necessary to conquer an equally stubborn opponent.

With Colten Leach scoring tough points, with a determined defense that refused to back down or surrender buckets during a key third quarter, BNL pounded out a hard-nosed 54-37 triumph at Seymour. Leach scored 20 points, one of three Stars in double figures, as the Stars (7-5, 2-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) won a battle of wills. Former Indiana University football coach Bill Mallory used to refer to that trait as “Locking your jaw.” Boy, the Stars were locked in.

At no time was that more evident than the third period. The Owls (4-9, 1-4) started the half with two free throws by Jaylan Johnson to creep within 21-19. They wouldn’t score again during the frame. BNL forced seven turnovers, the Owls missed the only five shots they got launched, and the Stars blasted their way to a double-digit lead.

Leach dashed the length of the court with a steal, then banked home a 10-footer in traffic. Colton Staggs dropped a 15-footer from the wing for a 3-point play, and Noah Godlevske swiped a rebound away from Johnson to score from underneath. BNL had a 30-19 lead, and in this type of long-possession, patient test, it felt like much more.

“The third quarter was huge, to hold them to two free throws and build on that lead,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “That was big. We like playing from ahead.”

They were also darn good at it. With the Owls in scramble mode, forced to extend their defense and press the issue, the Stars pulled away. Kaedyn Bennett converted an offensive rebound, Staggs beat the press for a 3–point play, Leach pecked away from the lane, and Bennett added another hoop-and-harm bucket from the paint. Leach’s second steal and runout gave the Stars their biggest lead (51-33) for the coasting home.

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Colton Staggs probes the baseline against Seymour’s Charlie Longmeier. Staggs scored 12 points.

In the midst of Seymour’s defensive rock pile, Leach stood out like Michelangelo’s statue of David. His 20 points included eight buckets, and none of them were too far from the rim. Staggs and Noah Godlevske (the early catalyst with two treys that got BNL a 15-8 advantage after the first quarter) both totaled 12 points.

“We figured they would clog things up on Leach, but he was able to find holes, did a good job distributing,” Hein said. “He just made good decisions. When our guards make the good decisions they made tonight, we’re a lot better basketball team.

“Shot selection (BNL shot 50 percent) was good because we stayed aggressive. For the most part, we didn’t waste possessions, we didn’t have wasted possessions with bad shots. The shots we got were the shots we wanted at the right time. We made good decisions.”

The Owls couldn’t recover from the offensive lapse to start the second half. And they’re not built to rally with an explosive offense. Seymour didn’t have a scorer reach double figures, with Johnson totaling 8 points before fouling out.

“That had nothing to do with the defense,” Seymour coach Kirk Manns said of the second-half start. “That had everything to do with our poor decision making. That got it snowballing, they got some momentum. It’s a lot easier for both of our teams to play with the lead than it is from behind. It gets tough.

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Colten Leach waits for a defender to clear the air space.

“I really want to give a lot of credit to Bedford, a lot of credit to Leach and Staggs. Their toughness and leadership was really outstanding, on both ends of the floor. They were very strong-minded in what they were trying to do, and they really stayed the course.”

BNL did a lot of things well: 15 of 17 free throws, only 7 turnovers, and Seymour’s two top scorers were under constant surveillance. Landon Fritsch scored 6 (half his average) and Bret Perry also finished 6 (hitting only 3 of 11 shots).

“The defense was very good,” Hein said. “We went with that lineup (with Trace Rynders back among the starters) because of matchups, and I thought Trace did a great job. Staggs did a great job on Fritsch, Kaedyn took the big kid on inside. Every matchup was good.

“We knew it would be a physical game, we just had to grind it out. It’s a great win. It was a total team effort, we did the things we needed to do to win a conference game on the road.”

BNL will go back on the road on Saturday, visiting Edgewood.

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Kaedyn Bennett handles the ball against pressure. Bennett scored 8 points.


3s FGs FTs R F PTS

4 Kaedyn Bennett, f 0-2 2-4 4-5 4 2 8

2 Colten Leach, f 0-0 8-14 4-4 7 4 20

22 Colton Staggs, g 1-2 4-8 3-4 2 3 12

1 Trace Rynders, g 0-2 1-4 0-0 1 3 2

11 Noah Godlevske, g 2-6 3-7 4-4 1 1 12

14 Kole Bailey 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

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

5 Houston Corbin 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

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

10 Patric Matson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 3-12 18-36 15-17 16 13 54


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Landon Fritsch, f 0-0 2-7 2-2 2 0 6

24 Eli Meyer, f 0-0 1-3 2-2 8 3 4

23 Jaylan Johnson, f 0-0 2-2 4-4 3 5 8

3 Bret Perry, g 0-0 3-11 0-0 1 2 6

12 Charlie Longmeier, g 0-0 2-3 2-4 5 3 6

22 Josh Rennekamp 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 1

15 Ethan Silcox 1-2 2-3 1-2 1 2 6

10 Evan Smith 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

5 Michael Brooks 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 0 0

1 Brady Harpe 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

32 A.J. Harrell 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 1-2 12-30 12-16 22 16 37

Bedford NL 15 6 9 24 – 54

Seymour 8 9 2 18 – 37

Turnovers – BNL 7, Seymour 13

Field goal percentage – BNL 18-36 (.500); Seymour 12-30 (.400)

Free throw percentage – BNL 15-17 (.882); Seymour 12-16 (.750)