By Justin Sokeland
GALENA – With a flip of the tempo toggle, changing attack modes and tactics like a mischievous toddler playing with a light switch, Bedford North Lawrence clicked faster than a teenager can text. AC for energized offense, DC for deliberate. Sparks flew. With a flick of the switch, the Stars blasted to a rock-n-roll road victory.
Click! The Stars turned up the volume. Click! They burned over two minutes off the clock during one possession. Click! They turned out the lights on Floyd Central.
Trailing at halftime, with momentum’s current charging the Highlanders, BNL pulled the plug with an electric second half, spiking the meter for an impressive 58-39 win on Thursday night. Colten Leach had 20 points and Noah Godlevske totaled 19 as the Stars (11-5) continued their power surge with their seventh victory of the last eight games.
When Floyd’s Caleb Washington ended the first half with a buzzer trey for a 24-19 lead, BNL’s flat energy needed a jolt. Rather than remain patient, the Stars shifted gears to pressure, completely opposite of their normal style. Turned loose, they went on a 13-2 run to a seven-point advantage.
Then they clicked back to their spread stance, killing the first two minutes of the fourth quarter before Leach buried a 12-footer in the lane. From that point, the Highlanders (4-12) lost their composure, even their point guard and an unruly fan, as BNL bolted to a comfortable, insulated advantage.
“That was an excellent second half,” BNL coach Jeff Hein said. “The press got us going, got us in a flow, got us moving and energized.”
Excellent, indeed. Colton Staggs started the turnaround with a 3-point play, Leach converted a rebound basket in transition, and Godlevske buried back-to-back bombs as BNL exploded to a 37-30 lead. Floyd’s Tevi Ali kept the Highlanders within striking distance with a baseline drive and a coast-to-coast burn for a layup and a 39-34 deficit after the third quarter.
That’s when BNL throttled back, holding the ball for the next two minutes, daring Floyd to a cat-and-mouse chase. Leach ended that slowdown with a bucket, and that’s when the frustrated Highlanders unraveled. Kole Bailey, who was the point man on the defensive end, slashed to a layup and Godlevske splashed another trey as BNL’s lead hit double digits.
The final blow came with 3:33 left. After BNL forced a turnover, Leach and Ali collided near midcourt. Ali was called for a foul as he hit the deck, and when he arose he had a bloody lip, looking like he taken a Joe Frazier left hook. When he voiced his displeasure, he was whistled for a technical foul. Seconds later, that same official summoned Floyd administrators to remove a disgruntled fan from the gymnasium with a police escort. Ali went to the locker room to stop the blood and didn’t return. Neither did the Highlanders.
“We had a bad two-minute stretch,” Floyd coach Greg Walters said. “Bedford decided they weren’t going to shoot the ball again. We could have let it be a four-point game until late, or come out and pressure them. They were able to score. We were trying to force a man into the corner and get them to take a quick shot. And they made it. The game spiraled out of control from there.”
That man was Godlevske, who was deadly, hitting four second-half 3-pointers.
“That never hurts,” Hein said. “When the game got sped up, they lost track of him a little bit. Once we got the tempo up, we got him some looks and our guys did a great job of finding him in the open spots.”
Floyd’s best moments came at the end of the first half. BNL seemed content to dribble out the final minute, but Leach missed a left-handed drive through the paint. Washington powered to a 3-point play, then gathered a loose ball (when Kaden Stewart blocked Trace Rynders’ deep three from the right wing) and raced to bury a trey at the buzzer.
“I’ll take the blame for that,” Hein said. “I’m a tempo guy and I was trying to slow it down at the end. They scored six real quick. But like I told the kids, it’s a 32-minute game, we had plenty of time.”
Staggs added 15 points for BNL, which was guilty of only five turnovers, and Leach grabbed 8 rebounds. Floyd, on the other hand, had 18 miscues (offsetting its 19-12 rebounding edge). Washington finished with 14 points while Ali had 12.
BNL also improved to 4-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference, but still needs help from a league neighbor to knock off Jennings County. “That’s all we can do, take care of what we can take care of,” Hein said.
The Stars will return to action on Saturday at Evansville Memorial.
BEDFORD NL STARS (58)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
4 Kaedyn Bennett, f 0-2 0-2 0-0 2 4 0
2 Colten Leach, f 0-0 10-16 0-0 8 3 20
22 Colton Staggs, g 0-0 5-7 5-5 1 2 15
1 Trace Rynders, g 0-2 0-3 0-0 0 0 0
11 Noah Godlevske, g 5-6 6-8 2-2 1 1 19
34 Jett Jones 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 2 0
14 Kole Bailey 0-1 1-2 2-4 0 0 4
Totals 5-11 22-39 9-11 12 12 58
FLOYD CENTRAL HIGHLANDERS (39)
3s FGs FTs R F Pts
33 Caleb Washington, f 2-5 4-9 4-5 4 2 14
30 Kaden Stewart, f 0-0 3-3 0-0 3 2 6
24 Tevi Ali, g 1-2 5-7 0-0 2 4 12
13 Austin Cardwell, g 0-1 0-2 0-0 1 3 0
31 Tre Walters, g 0-1 0-2 0-0 2 1 0
42 Brock Conrad 0-0 2-3 0-0 1 2 4
5 Nathan Rushing 1-2 1-3 0-0 1 1 3
4 Bryce Schmidt 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
10 Calvin Floyd 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
15 Isaac Kaiser 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 5-12 15-31 4-5 19 15 39
Bedford NL 8 11 20 19 – 58
Floyd Central 10 14 10 5 – 39
Turnovers – BNL 5, Floyd Central 18
Technical foul – Ali
Field goal percentage – BNL 22-39 (.564); Floyd Central 15-31 (.483)
Free throw percentage – BNL 9-11 (.818); Floyd Central 4-5 (.800)