Near-perfect start leads to runaway conclusion as No.3 BNL blitzes Bloomington North

BLOOMINGTON – BNL’s Chloe Spreen glides in for a layup during Tuesday night’s clash with Bloomington North. Spreen scored 27 points as the No.3 Stars crushed the Cougars 62-25.

By Justin Sokeland

BLOOMINGTON – Perfection is an impossible standard, an unreachable goal. That doesn’t mean anything less should be excused or accepted. In fact, in today’s softer society, the argument is made that the pursuit is unhealthy. “There is little upside to perfectionism. The relentless pursuit of flawlessness can lead to low self-worth, depressive and anxiety disorders, high stress in the face of failure.”

That quote came from a Washington Post advice article penned by Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, PhD, a psychology and neuroscience professor and health technology entrepreneur based in New York City. She obviously never played for Bedford North Lawrence.

The No.3 Stars weren’t perfect during their conquest of Bloomington North, but they flirted with that goal during a devastating first half. BNL was guilty of only one turnover during that span, committed only one foul while deploying its defensive weaponry. Miss Basketball candidate Chloe Spreen made her first five shots and was perfect from long range. If the Stars can be better, the Cougars want no part of that.

Spreen scored 27 points while powering BNL to a runaway 62-25 triumph on Tuesday night. Blue-collar freshman Miley Sherrill, in keeping with the perfection theme, didn’t miss during the second half and totaled 16 points as the Stars (2-0) raced to a mercy-rule road win.

North (1-2) struggled to function against BNL’s relentless pressure. The Cougars had as many turnovers (25) as points, and if there’s anything that causes anxiety, it’s that kind of stress. And what do New Yorkers know about basketball, anyway?

“We really wanted to put pressure on them,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “That was tough for them. We play pretty hard and pretty tenacious on defense. That’s what has made us who we are, that’s why we’re successful. We have to rely on that.

“We came out with really good focus and played well defensively. That sets the tone for us, we have to guard well.”

Spreen was the early catalyst. The most impressive part of her first-quarter barrage was a midcourt steal, the attack of a lone defender and the discard of that human obstacle with a slick spin move to a left-hand layup for a 15-5 lead. Even one of the officials, dropping his guard for a fan-boy moment during the following timeout as the Cougars tried to regroup, commented “That was sick.” Indeed, it was.

BLOOMINGTON – BNL’s Madisyn Bailey turns the corner against North’s Ava Robbennolt. Bailey scored 7 points.

That highlight was part of a 21-2 run that gave the Stars a 27-7 lead midway through the second quarter. BNL cruised to a 34-10 advantage at the half, and extended it to 45-13 on a Katie Godlevske trey in the third. The last unknown was when the running clock would be triggered, and Madisyn Bailey did those honors with a wing bomb for a 56-20 lead with 5:10 left.

“Chloe got us off to a great start,” Allen said. “And my goodness, how many assists did Madisyn have? She made some plays. The other kids are learning, they’re getting better.“

One of those is Sherrill. Talk about almost perfect. Two games into her varsity career, she’s hit 13 of 15 shots and totaled 30 points. That’s also “sick” in the good way of today’s street slang.

“I honestly expected it not to be going so well,” she said. “It’s all thanks to my teammates.” And her last bucket was a 3-pointer. “As soon as I caught that ball, it was ‘Please just go in,’” Sherrill said with a smile. “It turned out fine.”

Allen, not one for hyperbole, compared his prize rookie to his youngest daughter. Jorie was a Miss Basketball, so that’s high praise.

BLOOMINGTON – BNL’s Tori Nikirk applies defensive pressure. The Stars forced 25 turnovers.

“Kind of like Jorie, really,” he said. “At that age, as a freshman. She’s fearless. She has the ability to drive it and shoot it. She’s not as big as Jorie – I wish she was. She has the intelligence and skill. As she gets more and more experience, more and more confidence, she will continue to improve at a rapid pace.”

North won its last outing by going 18 of 18 at the foul line in the fourth quarter. BNL allowed only two North free throws, both in the fourth quarter. And this was not a sit-back-and-watch defense, this was harass-and-frustrate style with deflections in passing lanes, with thefts from unprotected dribbles or ill-advised passes.

“They pressure at every position,” said North first-year coach Kiley Jarrett, a former Indiana All-Star. “They’ll make you get on your heels. It’s no secret. They’re in the passing lanes, they’re pressuring the ball all over the floor. You’re always on the defense.

“Unbelievably talented girls, the way that they’re disciplined. You don’t see that often at the high school level. Tonight was a rough night. Hats off to Bedford. They will do that to a lot of teams.“

Spreen, the Alabama recruit, will also do her stat line – 11 of 16 shooting, 8 rebounds – against a lot of teams.

BLOOMINGTON – BNL’s Katie Godlevske drives to the basket against North’s Audrey Burton.

“You always know a player of that caliber will put numbers up and affect every aspect of the game,” Jarrett said. “Every time she steps on the floor, that’s what she does.”

Mia Robbennolt paced North with 11 points. The Cougars couldn’t break double digits in any quarter and hit only 10 of 34 shots when BNL’s defense didn’t force a turnover. And once a shot was missed or a mistake was made, the Stars were off and running.

“Our defensive effort is something that gets me going on the offensive side,” Sherrill said. “We shut down their shooters, took away their bigs, and that got us going.”

BNL, however was not quite perfect. The Stars were a troubling 3 of 8 from the line. “You know me, I’m a perfectionist,” Allen said. “That’s the one thing I griped about.”

The Stars have now won 13 straight in the series with North, the last 10 by a gaudy average of 42.9 points.

BNL will return to action on Saturday, hosting county rival Mitchell. BNL will also reveal its 2023 state championship banner and present rings to the members of last year’s champions.

BLOOMINGTON – BNL’s Chloe Spreen uses a Miley Sherrill screen to elude a defender.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 3-3 11-16 2-2 8 1 27

24 Madisyn Bailey, f 1-3 3-11 0-2 3 1 7

22 Miley Sherrill, f 1-1 7-8 1-4 4 1 16

12 Tori Nikirk, g 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 2 0

32 Trinidy Bailey, g 0-2 0-2 0-0 3 0 0

20 Bella Jackson 0-0 2-4 0-0 3 0 4

23 Katie Godlevske 1-4 2-7 0-0 1 1 5

11 Haleigh Canada 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

44 Paige Burton 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

50 Harryson Hayes 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

30 Makaya Jackson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 7-16 26-51 3-8 26 5 62


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

23 Mia Robbennolt, f 2-2 4-9 1-1 4 2 11

13 Audrey Burton, f 0-1 1-3 0-0 5 0 2

12 Ashley Stegemoller, f 0-3 2-9 0-0 6 2 4

21 Ava Reitmeyer, g 2-5 2-7 0-0 1 1 6

24 Ava Robbennolt, g 0-2 1-4 0-1 2 1 2

15 Kendyl Feutz 0-0 0-2 0-0 2 0 0

3 Rilynn Williams 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

22 Ellie Livingston 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 0

33 Isobel O’Leary 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

2 C.J. Bell 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 4-12 10-34 1-2 27 7 25

Bedford NL 19 15 15 13 – 62

Bl. North 7 3 8 7 – 25

Turnovers – BNL 9, North 25

Field goal percentage – BNL 26-51 (.510); North 10-34 (.294)

Free throw percentage – BNL 3-8 (.375); North 1-2 (.500)