Rack ‘em up! Give ‘em 12 as Stars extend sectional title streak with runaway win over Silver Creek

BNL celebrates its 12th straight 4A sectional championship following Saturday night’s 62-25 victory over Silver Creek.

By Justin Sokeland


BEDFORD – Rack ‘em up, stack ‘em up. Give ‘em 12, Stars.

Bedford North Lawrence, undisputed royalty in this sectional, added another jewel to the crown it owns in near perpetuity. In basketball terms, 12 years is an eternity, and it’s been forever since anyone in a BNL uniform has known first-level defeat in the postseason. The streak continues, the reign unchallenged.

For the 12th consecutive season, the Stars cut down those prized pieces of nylon net, extending the longest current streak in the state with a dominating victory over Class 4A newcomer (and temporary member) Silver Creek during Saturday night’s championship on Damon Bailey Court.

Spurred by defensive excellence, sparked by a fast start, the No.7 Stars overwhelmed the Dragons 62-25 while winning the program’s 32nd sectional title. Chloe Spreen and Mallory Pride scored 17 points each as BNL (23-3) advanced to next week’s one-game regional, awaiting the Jasper-Evansville Central winner.

For the record, that’s 36 straight sectional wins, only the second title ever won on the home floor. While some of the victories during the current run have been thrilling, heart-testing battles, this one was never in doubt. Silver Creek (14-10) just didn’t have the horsepower to keep up as BNL bolted away to another running-clock runaway (for the final 30 seconds).

Give Silver Creek, playing its third game in three nights after the weather forced a tournament delay, credit for moxie. The Dragons, starting two freshmen, had already absorbed a 67-29 home loss to BNL in December. They were fearless, but there’s just an obvious gap as a veteran team, seeking to make a deep run to bigger trophies and banners, had too many weapons.

The best one was the defense. BNL coach Jeff Allen was irritated by the lack of work stoppages during the semifinal win over Jeffersonville. He made that perfectly clear. And the Stars made that point on the court, allowing only two first-half field goals. Defense, according to the old cliche, wins championships, after all.

“Just a heck of a defensive performance by our kids,” Allen said. “We made that a point of emphasis, and they really came out and did a heck of a job on the defensive end – against a team that has really improved since the last time we played them.”

After the Dragons recorded a bucket on the game’s first possession, they went almost five minutes before the next one, then went the final 10 minutes of the half without one. They couldn’t find what they couldn’t see. The Stars smothered everything.

BNL’s Mallory Pride challenges a dribbler on the perimeter. BNL held the Dragons to a season-low 25 points.

“It was the flow of the offense,” Silver Creek coach Scott Schoen said. “We couldn’t get into anything, couldn’t run anything. They had us pushed out to halfcourt, they stifled everything we wanted to do. Great basketball team. Their intensity is off the charts. There’s a reason they’ve won this sectional 12 times in a row.“

While the Creek didn’t rise, BNL did. Pride got the Stars rolling with four early buckets – all layups, all via penetration and passes from unselfish teammates. The Stars were also deadly from distance as Emma Brown, Karsyn Norman and Tori Nikirk swished treys for a 22-6 lead at the first stop.

From there, the end was inevitable. Spreen hit six free throws as BNL rumbled to a 32-9 halftime advantage, Spreen and Pride added two baskets apiece as BNL’s lead expanded to 28 in the third, and BNL finished the blowout with three late bombs, the last by reserve Katie Baumgart to trigger the fast finish with the 35-point margin. Not that it mattered much at that juncture. BNL’s point had already been made.

Silver Creek, playing in 4A after a remarkable two-year run in 3A that forced the Success Factor rule to be engaged for two seasons, got 9 points from Lydia Wright. The Dragons converted only 9 of 38 shots, struggled to find 6-2 post Brooklyn Renn (5 points), failed to free sniper Emma Schoen (5 points) for open looks.

BNL’s Chloe Spreen rises for an open jumper. Spreen had 17 points.

“It’s very simple,” Scott Schoen said. “They have two of the best players in the state. Believe me, we’ve lived that life, having the best players on the floor. We won a state championship (in 2021), I understand how that is.

“I have a lot of young kids that have to grow up. Bedford is a different beast. We talk about we have kids that want to play college basketball. Well, there’s collegiate basketball right there. Norman and Spreen are high-level collegiate basketball. That’s what we have to get to.

“There’s nobody, when the season started, that would have said we would win 14 games, new to 4A, and we’re in the sectional final – with a group that returned one point from last year. Proud of them. This game won’t take away anything of what we accomplished.”

What BNL has accomplished might be expected, but it’s still an amazing run. There’s now been eight straight senior classes that don’t know what it feels like to lose a sectional.

“I didn’t want to know what it felt like to lose,” Norman said. “We get everybody’s best game. Winning 12 times in a row, there’s a big target on our back. If we don’t come to play, the other teams shows us they did. It’s always a dogfight, every sectional game.”

“It’s the blink of an eye,” Allen said. “It never gets old for me. I’m thrilled for them, they’ve worked hard. Hopefully we can keep going, We never get tired of it.”

Jasper (12-14) will meet Evansville Central (14-11) in the final at Evansville Harrison on Monday. BNL will host the regional on Feb. 11.

BNL’s Karsyn Norman tracks down a loose ball. Norman had 8 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

21 Brooklyn Renn, f 0-0 2-4 1-2 7 3 5

1 Emma Schoen, g 1-2 2-3 0-0 0 2 5

13 Kiara Grant, g 0-3 0-4 0-0 2 0 0

23 Lydia Wright, g 1-4 3-9 2-2 2 3 9

25 Olivia Johnston, g 0-2 0-4 0-0 2 1 0

11 Katy Rooney 0-3 0-5 0-0 4 0 0

22 Ellie Falkenstein 1-3 1-5 1-2 1 0 4

20 Jazmyn Robey 0-0 1-2 0-0 2 0 2

31 Joslyn Chester 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 0 0

30 Amira Estephan 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 3-19 9-38 4-6 23 9 25


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-4 5-13 7-7 5 1 17

22 Mallory Pride, f 1-2 8-11 0-0 6 2 17

24 Madisyn Bailey, g 0-1 3-8 2-2 2 1 8

20 Emma Brown, g 1-2 1-2 0-0 2 0 3

21 Karsyn Norman, g 2-3 3-8 0-0 4 2 8

12 Tori Nikirk 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

50 Emma Crane 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

32 Trinidy Bailey 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

3 Katie Baumgart 1-1 1-2 0-0 1 0 3

23 Katie Godlevske 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

11 Haleigh Canada 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

40 Bella Jackson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 7-15 23-46 9-9 29 6 62

Silver Creek 6 3 9 7 – 25

Bedford NL 22 10 13 17 – 62

Turnovers – Silver Creek 14, BNL 5

Field goal percentage – Silver Creek 9-38 (.237); BNL 23-46 (.500)

Free throw percentage – Silver Creek 4-6 (.667); BNL 9-9 (1.000)

BNL’s Madisyn Bailey looks to drive past Silver Creek’s Brooklyn Renn. Bailey had 8 points.


Karsyn Norman, BNL

Mallory Pride, BNL

Chloe Spreen, BNL

Myah Johnson, Jeffersonville

Brooklyn Renn, Silver Creek

Emma Schoen, Silver Creek

Lydia Wright, Silver Creek

Kendall Sterling, Seymour

Juliann Woodard, Jennings County