By Justin Sokeland
MARTINSVILLE – Do school’s still issue “progress reports” prior to publishing the grades that count on the permanent record? Bedford North Lawrence earned high marks during the final preseason scrimmage, a definite sign of positive movement toward the season opener. From now on, the scores matter.
Facing outside opposition for the first time, the Stars showed their study time has been put to good use, dominating four quarters of the IHSAA sanctioned scrimmage against Martinsville on Thursday night. While the scoreboard was reset after each quarter, the math indicated a 64-45 total count for the last practice test.
With senior sniper Noah Godlevske and junior wing Patric Matson combining for 45 points, with some team defensive quickness that caused some passing problems and forced 18 turnovers, BNL was impressive, winning each quarter. New head coach Kurt Godlevske gave his team a “high B” for the night. Better grades will be reserved for wins that count.
That doesn’t mean the scrimmage should be discounted. Just the opposite. For a team that’s adjusting to a new style and tempo, showing some distinct weapons and interesting additions to the arsenal, the honor-roll-worthy performance was a great launching pad for next week’s 2023-24 debut.
“Even from our soap-and-towel (on Monday), we looked much different, much more composed,” Godlevske said. “That group (comprising the first eight in the rotation) hasn’t played a lot together, they’ve been competing against each other. They did a good job of doing what they’re good at.”
Each quarter (the first three used a 12-minute running clock) had its own nuance. The first was strictly man-to-man defense, and BNL finished that with a 17-14 edge as Matson stroked a trey, a lane jumper and a 15-footer from the baseline after an offensive rebound. In the second, Quincy Pickett came off the bench for two buckets during a 10-6 period.
The third featured zone defenses, and any opponent that chooses to play back like that will be foolish. Godlevske, one of the premier shooters in southern Indiana, buried three bombs (and six total) as BNL took that quarter 15-13.
In the fourth, played with normal time keeping and stoppages, BNL blasted to a 22-12 difference. Matson was again the catalyst with a soaring one-handed layup, a lob off a set play for another close-range bucket, then back-to-back layups when BNL’s zone press forced backcourt turnovers.
“Our trapping was very effective,” Godlevske said. “We’ll try to speed the game up and take advantage of quickness and length. We really did a nice job of challenging and getting up in the passing lanes, but we didn’t do a great job of jumping to the ball on drives. We were out of position, and that’s been a point of emphasis. We did continue to make adjustments, and make things more challenging for them.
“For us to score 22 points, with stoppage in a quarter, that’s a lot of points. We just need to make sure we play like we did for the last four minutes. We had some breakdowns, so it will be about continuing to shore up those things.”
Godlevske had 22 points and Matson totaled 21. Pickett finished with 9 points. The Stars, who will host Martinsville on Jan. 2, hit nine treys.
For the Artesians, who have only one senior on the roster, who started three sophomores, the workout was revealing and beneficial as well. Grady Gardner had 17 points and Jace LaFary added 14.
“We’re young and inexperienced, so this was a great barometer of where we are, what we need to work on,” Martinsville coach Kip Staggs said. “We did some things well on both ends, there’s plenty to work on. Bedford has some shooters and runs their stuff well.”
BNL will start the regular season on Tuesday, visiting Bloomington North. Martinsville will journey to Edgewood on Nov. 25.
BNL 64, MARTINSVILLE 45
BNL – Patric Matson 21, Noah Godlevske 22, Trace Rynders 2, Dax Short 5, Isaiah Sasser 2, Quincy Pickett 9, Jonah Bailey 1, Logan Miracle 2
Martinsville – Jace LaFary 14, Lane Taylor 4, Zhane Capshaw 6, Grady Gardner 17, Alex Stout 2, A.J. Reynolds 2