With no novocaine for its offense, BNL bites down on defense for 31-28 win over Silver Creek

BNL’s Chloe Spreen battles with Silver Creek’s Jazmyn Robey for a loose ball. Spreen scored 19 points as the No.7 Stars slipped past the Dragons 31-28 on Thursday night.

By Justin Sokeland


BEDFORD – With the baskets in BNL Fieldhouse reduced to the diameter of those carnival rims, with an offensive performance that made a root canal seem pleasant, Bedford North Lawrence still left the midway with a stuffed animal as the prize. If you can’t beat ‘em, stop ‘em.

The offense was in tatters, with all the cotton stuffing leaking out like a dog had chewed it. So the Stars rang the bell with defense, escaping with a victory that will not be bragged about. Winning ugly now has a definition in the dictionary with a snapshot of this game next to it.

Shots weren’t falling. BNL trailed in the fourth quarter. The sheer resolve of a defending state champion was all that got the Stars through a titanic struggle with Silver Creek on Thursday night. Chloe Spreen and Miley Sherrill finally got shots down late as No.7 BNL rallied – in desperate survival mode – for a 31-28 victory over the hard-luck Dragons.

BNL (11-1) set dubious records. How is it possible for a team to hit 1 of 20 from long range, miss 10 free throws, and still prevail? The Stars scored their fewest points since the forgettable 26-point night at Floyd Central during the 2018-19 season. That was a loss. This could be the fewest points scored during a win.

That’s why teams play both ends. The Stars gave up only two points during the last six minutes while scratching, clawing, digging and scrambling.

“It’s a good thing we can guard,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “It’s a tough thing when you can’t make shots, and you could see it in our faces as the game wore on. It just wears on you. Sometimes that’s just the way the game is.

“It was a tough basketball game. It was like going to the dentist with no novocaine. But you know what? I’ll take it. We’re 11-1, I don’t care how it looks or how it feels. The object was to be 11-1.”

What makes the BNL brick circus even more puzzling is the way it started. Spreen hit her first three shots as the Stars smoked to an 11-2 lead, and the Dragons (6-4) were already in trouble. Even though BNL got only two more field goals the rest of the half, they were in front 19-10. Silver Creek scored only one point in the second quarter – after getting shut out in the same frame by Scottsburg in its last contest – and was fortunate to be that close.

“We felt we should have been up 20 at halftime,” Allen said. “For some reason, that carried over into the second half.”

BNL’s Trinidy Bailey wins a race for a rebound. Bailey had 4 points and 7 boards.

Like it did against Scottsburg, Silver Creek surged back. When Kiki Gant popped a trey, Lydia Wright converted a rebound basket and Emma Schoen turned a turnover into a layup, the Dragons were within 23-21 after the third quarter. Then Brooklynn Renn rebounded her own miss for a bucket, Wright ripped another bomb, and the Dragons were in front 26-23 with 5:50 left. The Stars were almost in panic mode.

BNL responded. After a Spreen free throw, she drove the baseline for a bucket. After a Silver Creek turnover, she pulled up for a 15-footer. After another Creek mistake, Madisyn Bailey dove through the lane and found Sherrill for a wide-open layup and 30-26 lead with 1:17 left.

“You have to make plays,” Creek coach Scott Schoen said. “We had possessions where we don’t get a great shot or turned it over. That’s where our inexperience showed. You have to understand the flow of the game, we felt like we had momentum.”

Schoen scored from the lane with 30 seconds left. After a timeout, BNL beat full-court pressure with a long pass to Spreen for a breakaway layup. Which she missed. The Dragons rushed back and got Renn, a 6-2 target in the paint, the ball in the lane. But she was surrounded by defenders, lost control of the ball, and the Stars came up with the crucial possession. Spreen made a final free throw with 1.9 seconds left.

Silver Creek’s Brooklynn Renn claims the ball in traffic. Renn had 6 points and 10 rebounds.

Spreen paced the Stars with 19 points, but even she was not her normal self. And she got little support on the offensive end. Sherrill had 6 points (plus a career-high 10 rebounds), Trinidy Bailey had 4, and Bella Jackson had a first-half bucket. That was it. The Stars made only 10 of 43 shots overall, shot a miserable 10 of 20 at the line while unguarded, and Spreen had all the second-half points until Sherrill’s late bucket.

“I would have said ‘Wow, had bad did we get beat?’” Allen said when told the shooting numbers. “You miss a few shots and the rim got a lot smaller.

“I like the resilience of my kids. They figure out how to get it done when they need to. When you get behind, a lot of teams would have folded. You’ve been ahead the whole game. My kids just stuck with it and fought. It’s not pretty, but we fought our way out of it.”

Wright had 10 points, while Renn totaled 6 points, 10 boards and 4 blocked shots. Although the Dragons recovered from the second-quarter malaise and got the lead, Schoen pointed to that time frame as the difference. Silver Creek’s chance for the first win in the series slipped away.

“That’s the problem. We’ve buried ourselves against good teams,” Schoen said. “You can’t do that. We’ve had to make this valiant second-half effort. Against good teams, you can’t do that. I was proud that we fought back, but that’s a game we should win.”

BNL will return to action on Saturday, making a long road trip to face Fort Wayne Northrop.

BNL’s Miley Sherrill finds a gap in Silver Creek’s defense. Sherrill had 6 points and 10 rebounds.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

14 Brooklynn Renn, f 0-1 3-12 0-2 10 3 6

23 Lydia Wright, g 2-6 4-9 0-0 4 1 10

13 Kiki Gant, g 1-1 1-1 0-0 1 3 3

1 Emma Schoen, g 0-1 3-7 0-0 4 3 6

11 Katy Rooney, g 0-1 0-1 0-0 2 1 0

20 Jazmyn Robey 0-1 1-2 0-0 4 4 2

15 Hannah Senn 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

4 Kinsey Ryland 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

31 Joslyn Chesser 0-1 0-1 1-2 0 1 1

Totals 3-12 12-36 1-4 26 18 28


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 1-5 7-18 4-8 9 1 19

22 Miley Sherrill, f 0-2 1-7 4-4 10 3 6

24 Madisyn Bailey, g 0-2 0-2 0-4 3 2 0

32 Trinidy Bailey, g 0-2 1-4 2-4 7 1 4

12 Tori Nikirk, g 0-4 0-5 0-0 1 0 0

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

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

Totals 1-20 10-43 10-20 34 7 31

Silver Creek 9 1 11 7 – 28

Bedford NL 13 6 4 8 – 31

Turnovers – Silver Creek 16, BNL 13

Field goal percentage – Silver Creek 12-36 (.333); BNL 10-43 (.233)

Free throw percentage – Silver Creek 1-4 (.250); BNL 10-20 (.500)