Long trip worth the journey as No.7 Stars ‘steal’ a 52-47 victory over FW Northrup

FORT WAYNE – BNL’s Miley Sherrill lines up a jumper during Saturday’s road clash with Fort Wayne Northrup. Sherrill had career highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Stars prevailed 52-47.

By Justin Sokeland


FORT WAYNE – Don’t be fooled by the quiet voice and shyness. Madisyn Bailey is a stone-cold criminal.

With potential victory in the hands of the opponent, on consecutive possessions deep in the fourth quarter, Bedford North Lawrence’s senior defensive stopper, the person who always gets the toughest assignment, slapped the ball away and ripped out Fort Wayne Northrop’s heart as well.

Two steals, plus three free throws in the final 36 seconds, were the clutch plays as the No.7 Stars made a long road trip worth the journey with a tough 52-47 victory on Saturday afternoon. Freshman forward Miley Sherrill recorded a strong double-double with career highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds as BNL (12-1) got up from a second-half stumble with a fierce final four minutes.

BNL trailed 47-44 with 4:08 left, and the Bruins (8-3) could sense the upset, which would have been just reward for a gutsy comeback from 16 down in the second half – without their leading scorer. Destini Clark went down with a left knee injury just three seconds into the action. Yet they battled all the way back and had the Stars in a soul-searching moment.

The Stars reversed all that negative momentum. Sherrill broke loose for a layup off a Chloe Spreen drive-and-dish pass, then Spreen converted go-ahead free throws with 2:40 left. On Northrop’s next two chances, Bailey swiped the ball to keep the Bruins from retaking the lead. Then she made a free throw for a 49-47 lead with 36.6 left.

“I don’t what else you can say,” said BNL assistant coach Chase Spreen, who was in charge while head coach Jeff Allen attended a funeral. “Defensively, I’ve never seen a better on-ball defender, with her hands especially. She stepped up down the stretch and got those two when we needed them.”

BNL needed one more stop, which came when Northrop’s Swynn Jackson missed a runner in the paint. Bailey was quickly fouled and made the two free throws for a two-possession lead with 13.2 remaining. Tori Nikirk added the final free throw to seal BNL’s first win in the series.

“We were a little nervous, but we showed everyone who we are,” Sherrill said. “It was a very exciting win. I knew our defense had to buckle down.”

The Stars got their double-digit advantage with great offense, which was good to see after the previous performance. After missing so many perimeter shots against Silver Creek, they buried four treys while racing to a 20-11 lead in the first quarter. Then Sherrill, who popped her first two from long range, got free for three baskets in the second – including a sizzling fast break off a Katie Godlevske look – for a 34-20 lead. When Spreen started the third quarter with a lob in the post for a bucket, the Stars were cruising.

FORT WAYNE – BNL’s Katie Godlevske launches a corner 3-pointer. The Stars hit six from long range.

Then they fell down as the Bruins found their footing. Jackson swished a corner trey, Lexi Castator rained in a trey from the key, and both worked inside for buckets as Northrup rallied within 41-38. The Bruins then scored six straight points (with a Niya Bell bomb and two Castator free throws in that surge) for the 47-44 lead BNL had to erase.

“They had some kids step up and make shots, that was the only difference, and we sputtered a little offensively,” Spreen said. “In the fourth quarter, that’s been our M.O. (modus operandi, for those unfamiliar with Latin). We gritted our teeth and gutted out a win. We did the things we needed to do. We made free throws and got stops when we needed.”

Northrup coach Katie Jackson pointed to the inexperience factor as the Bruins failed to score during the final four minutes.

“Shot selection,” she said. “We were rushing, and we were playing some sophomores. Sometimes that hurts you with maturity and understanding. But I have to give them kudos for competing. Losing Destini (an IUPUI recruit who was averaging 16 points per game) was big emotionally. We had to go back out and compete in the second half.”

FORT WAYNE – BNL’s Bella Jackson claims a loose ball in traffic.

Jackson, recently back from foot surgery, had 14 points, Castator finished with 13 and Khala Williams-Thomas added 11 for Northrup.

In addition to Sherrill, who was 7 of 9 from the floor, Spreen suffered through a tough shooting day but still totaled 13 points and 10 boards. Bailey had 11 points. The Stars, who were 1 of 20 from deep on Thursday, hit six treys.

“It’s funny, this team is very connected in the sense that when one kid sees one go in, it rubs off on everyone else,” Spreen said. “Days that we make shots, we’re hard to beat.”

“It was a huge relief to see our perimeter shots go in,” Sherrill said.

BNL will return to action in its annual Pete Pritchett tournament on Friday, facing Lake Central in the first game at 10 a.m.

FORT WAYNE – BNL’s Chloe Spreen scores from close range as a defender flies past.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-4 4-23 5-6 10 3 13

22 Miley Sherrill, f 2-3 7-9 2-3 11 0 18

24 Madisyn Bailey, g 1-3 2-7 6-8 6 2 11

32 Trinidy Bailey, g 0-1 0-2 0-0 6 3 0

12 Tori Nikirk, g 2-3 2-3 1-2 1 1 7

20 Bella Jackson 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0

23 Katie Godlevske 1-3 1-4 0-0 0 1 3

Totals 6-17 16-49 14-19 40 11 52


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

3 Destini Craig, f 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

23 Lexi Castator, f 1-2 4-8 4-6 9 3 13

5 Khala Willliams-Thomas, g 0-3 5-19 1-2 5 4 11

11 Niya Bell, g 1-7 1-7 0-0 1 1 3

25 Swynn Jackson, g 2-5 5-10 2-2 1 1 14

2 Alivia Rice 1-2 1-2 0-0 5 4 3

21 Brilee Day 0-2 1-5 1-2 2 1 3

15 Kyndall Thompson 0-0 0-1 0-0 3 2 0

Totals 5-20 17-52 8-12 31 16 47

Bedford NL 20 14 8 10 – 52

FW Northrup 11 9 18 9 – 47

Turnovers – BNL 14, FW Northrup 11

Field goal percentage – BNL 16-49 (.327); FW Northrup 17-52 (.327)

Free throw percentage – BNL 14-19 (.737); FW Northrup 8-12 (.667)