From stale to fresh, Stars get their starch back during four-quarter conquest of Scottsburg

BNL’s Chloe Spreen scans the court for an opening during Thursday’s scrimmage against Scottsburg. Spreen scored 31 points as the Stars finished four quarters with a 72-42 advantage.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Anything that goes stale – food, air, jokes, jobs – loses its appeal. Fresher is better. Bedford North Lawrence’s practice sessions had reached the expiration date on their shelf life. Like bread losing its moisture, workouts against teammates were getting hard and distasteful.

Talk about perfect placement. The next phase in the preseason calendar, the IHSAA sanctioned scrimmage, could not have been timed better. Facing a foreign enemy rather than familiar friends, the Stars got their starch back.

Powered by a Miss Basketball contender on her game, BNL displayed the expected energy and effort during a conquest of Scottsburg on Thursday night. Whatever the script mandated, the Stars were fully engaged while posting a 72-42 ‘win’ during the final public exhibition prior to the start of the 2023-24 regular season.

Chloe Spreen scored 31 points during the four quarters, divvied into distinct segments (man-to-man defense in the first, zone in the second, and whatever pleased the coach’s fancy for the final two). Madisyn Bailey added 15 points, and the Stars were sharp and focused. Amazing how the change in scenery effected the execution and the results.

“Yesterday in practice, we just looked so stale,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “They’re at the point in the season where going against each other is a tough thing to do. So this was a breath of fresh air, to play against somebody else, to have a chance to execute and just play hard. For the most part, I was really pleased.”

BNL’s Tori Nikirk races past a defender for a basket. Nikirk scored 13 points.

Each quarter, with a 12-minute running clock rather than exact timing. had its own nuance. BNL opened with the first seven points and owned a 19-6 edge (with Spreen totaling 8 points) at the conclusion of the first. Against the zone, the Stars hit four treys (including two by Tori NIkirk) and finished the half with a 41-24 advantage.

After a break for a quarter of junior varsity work, BNL went back to the attack. Bailey drove to back-to-back 3-point plays. Spreen turned a steal into another hoop-and-foul conversion, and she popped her third trey as BNL recorded a 21-9 difference. In the fourth, Spreen went coast-to-coast with a rebound, Bailey bombed another 3-pointer (BNL’s ninth), and Trinidy Bailey scored off a post cut to cap the final period.

“We had good ball movement,” Allen said. “We were making the extra passes to get that clean look. Defensively we looked pretty solid. I’m a little worried about our rebounding, we gave up too many offensive rebounds. But we shot the ball well. That was nice to see.”

In addition to the anticipated Spreen-Bailey scoring combination, Nikirk added 13 points. It might be a different person (out of the eight-player rotation Allen intends to use) each night to provide extra offensive punch, but it will be crucial.

BNL’s Madisyn Bailey battles with Scottsburg’s Haley Thomas for a loose ball. Bailey totaled 15 points.

“I expect Madisyn and Chloe to lead us,” Allen said. “As the other kids get more experience, they will find their groove. And I hope they do because everyone will focus on stopping Chloe and Madisyn. If they do, we’ll be hard to handle.

“Chloe is just so fluid and athletic. Combine that with her ball skills, that’s why she is what she is. She can make a play out of something that doesn’t look good sometimes.”

On this night, Nikirk was in the groove. She made three treys, but she also raced to collect a loose ball and run away to a layup.

“This was so much fun, to finally play against other people,” Nikirk said. “It was fun to try new things. We moved the ball well, and we were all shooting well.“

For the Warriorettes, Ellie Richardson had 12 points and Carrie Hiler added 10. Scottsburg, with three returning starters coming back from an impressive 19-6 season, mirrored BNL in its need to face outside competition.

BNL’s Trinidy Bailey looks for room to work against Scottsburg’s Lola Fouts.

“We knew it would be a tough task, coming in here,” Scottsburg coach Carrie Daniels said. “I just wanted to see us play fundamental, smart basketball. Going against a team like Bedford, the defending state champion, we knew we would be tested. Some of the things we need to improve on would be exploited.

“At this point, everybody knows everything you’re doing. Everyone is cheating, playing the play, so it was nice to get a different look, a point of view of what’s coming up. I’d rather take the hits now and learn from it.“

Here’s what’s coming up for Scottsburg – a season opener against Jennings County on Tuesday.

BNL will now turn its attention to its opener at Mooresville next week. Part of the spotlight in the scrimmage was testing various combinations, to determine strengths and weaknesses of each group before the wins and losses start to count.

“We feel like we have a set group that will be the main part of the rotation,” Allen said. “We have to things to get better at. But so far, so good.”


BNL – Chloe Spreen 31, Madisyn Bailey 15, Trinidy Bailey 4, Miley Sherrill 2, Tori Nikirk 13, Katie Godlevske 5, Haleigh Canada 2

Scottsburg – Ellie Richardson 12, Carrie Hiler 10, Haley Thomas 2, Addison Eldridge 2, Eulalia Powell 4, Lola Fouts 8, Katrina Cooper 4

BNL’s Katie Godlevske fends off defensive pressure. Godlevske scored 5 points.