Bling and zing! Stars flash new rings before dashing Mitchell during 72-9 blowout

BNL’s Chloe Spreen drives around Mitchell’s Leighanne Thompson. Spreen scored 34 points as the No.3 Stars raced to a 72-9 win over the Bluejackets on Saturday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – On Banner and Bling Night, with a patriotic dash of veteran appreciation, Bedford North Lawrence added some spicy zing and zest with a blowout that needed some seasoning to make it palatable.

After dropping the black covering to unveil the newest addition to the banner collection in the northeast corner rafters above Damon Bailey Court, the No.3 Stars took that blanket and blacked out Mitchell. As flashy as those state championship rings that were handed out, BNL blasted to a diamond-coated victory over the Bluejackets on Saturday night.

Chloe Spreen, a candidate for Miss Basketball, scored 34 points as the Stars raced to a 72-9 triumph. BNL (3-0) allowed only one field goal in the first 24 minutes while stretching its winning streak in the county series to 14 straight, and five of those have been by 50-plus points. This one, like so many during that run, was never in doubt.

The concern was whether Mitchell (0-3) would be able to handle BNL’s defensive tenacity. Turnovers have been a problem for an underaged team that lacks experience. The Bluejackets eliminated the possibility of a shutout with a first-quarter basket, but their 24 turnovers during the first three quarters were part of the reason BNL had a 67-3 advantage at that point.

BNL, making its home debut, must be commended for staying focused and disciplined, playing to its championship level rather than allowing any slippage. Sloppiness on either end would not have been tolerated. The Stars were guilty of only three turnovers, dogged the Bluejackets without adding insult to injury with unnecessary extended defense, yet projected the integrity for both teams by giving their best.

“I felt like our level of play was consistent,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “Our focus was there. We did things within ourselves, as far as what we want to do as a program. We weren’t gambling, we stayed disciplined. That’s what I wanted to see. They’re struggling, they’re a young team, and you might get away with some things – cheating wise – that we won’t get away with next week. We didn’t do that.”

BNL’s Madisyn Bailey finds an opening in Mitchell’s defense. Bailey scored 12 points.

The pregame celebration was more of a heartwarming story than the actual contest. BNL celebrated its 2023 Class 4A state title with the presentation of rings to members of that squad (including the graduated seniors who came back for an unofficial homecoming), then dropped the veil on the new banner. In addition, BNL honored veterans for their service and sacrifices. That ceremony was poignant and moving.

Then the Stars made their move on the Jackets, scoring the first 18 points before Mitchell’s Jillian Bond broke loose for a layup at the 3:03 mark. The next Mitchell point would be a free throw by Bond at 6:16 of the third, and the next field goal (by Briley Dicks) came at 7:39 of the fourth.

Spreen was sparkling like those rings in the first half. She scored 19 in the first quarter as BNL exploded to a 32-2 lead, and finished with 28 in the half, which ended with a 50-2 margin. That’s not a misprint. Most of Spreen’s buckets were layups in transition following Mitchell mistakes against halfcourt pressure. The Stars didn’t press 84 feet, but the 42 feet on the other end was still deemed as protected territory.

BNL freshman Miley Sherrill prepares to launch from long range. Sherrill totaled 7 points.

In the fourth (the entire second half was played with a running clock, via the 35-point mercy rule), Mitchell got buckets from Dicks, Gracyn Thompson (a jumper in the lane) and Bond (a rebound bucket) but came up short in the quest to reach double digits.

Mitchell’s goal was gaining knowledge for future reference. This was, after all, the second defending state champion (after opening with Class A power Lanesville) the Jackets have faced thus far. Despite the margin, the Jackets were intent on running their offensive sets to the best of their ability, and playing straight-up defense against an elite opponent.

“We’re connected, we’re together, we’re here for the right reasons,” first-year coach Dakota Brasher said. “Nobody in the state of Indiana has played two state champions so far. We’ll get better from this, we will learn from this. We have a group that knows the challenge ahead, we just have to get better.

“Credit to them. We just played a really good basketball team. They might not be the tallest, but they’re athletic, they bother the ball when they want to. It’s how physical they are. They’re tough and nasty, a credit to them. They might not be the biggest, but they’re tough. That’s something you don’t see on tape.”

Mitchell’s Gracyn Thompson shields the ball away from BNL’s Tori Nikirk. The Jackets had 24 turnovers.

Bond had 5 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

“We’ve been pushing the girls to play to our strengths,” Brasher said. “We have weaknesses, every team has weaknesses. We will focus on our strengths.”

Spreen, who came up one point shy of her career high, was 14 of 18 from the floor, many of those breakaway layups, before she exited with 3:13 left in the third quarter. Madisyn Bailey had 12 points, freshman Miley Sherrill totaled 7 and Katie Godlevske drilled two treys for 6. BNL’s first turnover didn’t come until 7:03 left.

“I like the way we’re playing,” Allen said. “We have two seniors, the kids know they are our go-to kids, and the rest know their roles. Chloe is so athletic. When she gets out in the open floor, it’s tough for anyone to stay in front of her. And she’s shooting the ball well.”

Mitchell will finally make its home debut against Loogootee on Tuesday, the same night the Stars will host Bloomington South.

BNL’s Chloe Spreen powers over a defender for a bucket from close range.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

33 Jillian Bond, f 0-1 2-12 1-2 14 3 5

3 Gracyn Thompson, f 0-0 1-1 0-0 3 0 2

12 Briley Dicks, g 0-2 1-6 0-0 1 1 2

1 Paisley Modglin, g 0-4 0-5 0-0 1 0 0

2 Leighanne Thompson, g 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

22 Davaney Roop 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

4 Gwen Eastridge 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

10 Jorja Lamm 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 0-8 4-26 1-2 20 7 9


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 2-4 14-18 4-5 2 0 34

24 Madisyn Bailey, f 2-6 5-13 0-0 3 2 12

22 Miley Sherrill, f 1-1 3-7 0-0 6 1 7

12 Tori Nikirk, g 1-5 1-5 0-0 2 0 3

32 Trinidy Bailey, g 0-1 1-3 0-0 4 0 2

20 Bella Jackson 0-0 1-1 1-2 6 0 3

23 Katie Godlevske 2-3 2-3 0-0 1 1 6

11 Haleigh Canada 0-0 0-2 0-0 1 1 0

30 Makaya Jackson 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

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

40 Trinity Schmeichel 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 2

50 Harryson Hayes 0-0 1-3 1-2 2 0 3

Totals 8-20 29-57 6-9 30 6 72

Mitchell 2 0 1 6 – 9

Bedford NL 32 18 17 5 – 72

Turnovers – Mitchell 24, BNL 3

Field goal percentage – Mitchell 4-26 (.154); BNL 29-57 (.509)

Free throw percentage – Mitchell 1-2 (.500); BNL 6-9 (.667)