By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Of course, everyone has heard of the phrase “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” That’s the excuse for aging quickly. For Bedford North Lawrence, that’s adjusted to “It’s not the games, it’s the mileage.” And the Stars, already mature with a senior-heavy roster, are aging in a hurry.
For the fifth time in the last six games during a busy campaign, for the third straight game, for the second time of three scheduled visits to Evansville, BNL will hit the road again as it heads to Evansville Memorial for a tough Saturday matinee. Counting the other trips to faraway destinations on the 2022-23 schedule, that’s a lot of logged miles. Is there such a thing as frequent-driver rewards?
The reward for the Stars (11-5 after winning seven of eight) would be another quality win. Memorial (10-6) is coming off its own road struggles (three straight losses after a 61-45 setback at Evansville Reitz on Thursday), but the Tigers are vicious at home, already 7-0 this season.
“It will be a tough game, it always is to go to Memorial,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “It’s one of the toughest places to play in Evansville, always has been.”
Memorial has the talent to make it difficult. Sophomore guard Luke Ellspermann (17.2 points) and 6-7 junior post Tucker Tornatta (14.5) are quite the inside-outside combination. The Tigers also have balance among the top eight in their rotation with sophomore Luke Lawrence (9.6) and senior Leo Collins (8.1).
“Ellspermann is really impressive,” Hein said. “He’s just a scorer. And the Tornatta kid can not only score inside, he can step out and shoot the three. He’s very versatile, athletic. They’re very physical, they defend well, they play hard and don’t get rattled.”
BNL won last year’s clash 54-52, with Colton Staggs scoring 20 points and Colten Leach adding 13. Ellspermann had 17 and Collins 13 for the Tigers. The Stars also won during their first visit to Memorial (53-51) two years ago.
“We know we will have our hands full with Coach Hein’s squad,” Memorial coach Heath Howington said. “They are on a roll right now.”
BNL at EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Records: BNL 11-5; Evansville Memorial 10-6
Sagarin ratings: BNL 81.05; Evansville Memorial 75.60
Last meeting: Last year at BNL, Colton Staggs scored 20 points as the Stars edged Memorial 54-52. Luke Ellspermann had 17 points for the Tigers.
Previous game story: Stars adapt, overcome
Game notes: BNL leads the series 4-0. The Stars also topped the Tigers in the 1987 semistate final at Roberts Stadium in Evansville, and during their first road trip to Memorial in 2021.
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.
Evansville Memorial Tigers
F – Leo Collins 6-4 Sr.
C – Tucker Tornatta 6-7 Jr.
G – Luke Ellsperman 6-0 So.
G – Luke Lawrence 6-0 So.
G – Blake Anderson 6-4 Sr.