By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Nobody looks forward to a dentist visit. With apologies to the profession, all the drilling, filling and picking, not to mention the pain, ranks pretty low on the pleasant meter.
That’s exactly the experience Bedford North Lawrence expects when it visits Terre Haute North on Saturday night. Take a shot of novocaine and prepare for squirming in the chair during a long examination. Two grinding teams that place an emphasis on defense will test each other’s patience and pain threshold.
The Patriots (12-5) started with issues, losing their first three games. But they soon started taking bites out of their opponents, winning 12 of 13 games before slipping against Southport last week. North ranks among the state leaders on defense, allowing only 44.1 points per game.
“They’re playing really well,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “They play a lot like us, pretty methodical on the offensive end, they get the shots they want.”
North’s offense will feature only one double-digit scorer (senior Ethan Scott at 10.2), but there’s equality elsewhere with three others averaging 7 points.
“We don’t have a superstar, but several solid high school basketball players,” TH North coach Todd Woelfle said. “They are bought into our system, understand their roles, and are committed most nights on the defensive end.”
The Patriots won last year’s clash at BNL, with Mark Hankins scoring 18 points during a 45-37 victory. The Stars played without Colten Leach that night (as he finished recovering from an offseason surgery). Colton Staggs had 12 points.
“BNL is a veteran team,” Woelfle said. “It appears, when watching them on film, they have good chemistry, and playing against them is like getting a few teeth pulled. Very painful if you get behind because they control tempo and don’t turn it over.
“Coach Hein puts them in positions to be successful and they can really shoot the 3. Leach is a matchup problem because he does a lot of things really well. We need to be prepared for a possession by possession battle and must play well in order to win.“
North will be BNL’s third straight Saturday foe that was idle the night before, while BNL was involved with a Friday clash. That’s a schedule quirk that gives North an entire week to prepare, while the Stars won’t focus on the Patriots until the morning workout before the long trip.
“That’s a huge advantage,” Hein said. “But we’ll just go over and play. We’ll come up with a game plan.”
BNL at TERRE HAUTE NORTH
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: BNL 8-5 (vs. Jeffersonville on Friday); Terre Haute North 12-5
Sagarin ratings: BNL 79.43; TH North 79.42
Last meeting: Last year at BNL, the Patriots prevailed 45-37. Mark Hankins had 18 points for North, while Colton Staggs totaled 12 for the Stars.
Previous game story: Stars slide on the learning curve
Game notes: TH North coach Todd Woelfle recorded his 200th career win earlier this season. The Patriots rank 31st in the state in defense, allowing only 44.1 points per game.
Bedford NL Stars
F – Kaedyn Bennett 6-2 Sr.
F – Colten Leach 6-2 Sr.
G – Colton Staggs 6-0 Sr.
G – Trace Rynders 5-9 Jr.
G – Noah Godlevske 5-8 Jr.
TH North Patriots
F – Ethan Scott 6-2 Sr.
F – Jaden Wayt 6-3 Sr.
G – Chris Owens 5-11 Sr.
G – Alex Ross 6-0 Sr.
G – Bryson Carpenter 6-1 Sr.