Star power on display as BNL prepares to host loaded Pete Pritchett Classic

BNL coach Jeff Allen and the No.6 Stars will face No.9 Lake Central in the opening game of the Pete Pritchett Limestone Classic on Friday morning.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – No other regular-season tournament offers more elite teams and individual star power, so it’s absolutely appropriate, and perfectly fitting, for the name of a legend to grace the marquee. Pete Pritchett, a Hall of Famer and the patriarch of Bedford North Lawrence’s noble program, would have approved.

BNL will welcome some of the state’s best, in terms of state championship contenders and future All-Stars, to Damon Bailey Court when it stages the annual Pete Pritchett Limestone Classic on Friday. The spotlight will be intense for a four-team spectacular, and the two-win survivor will earn this title.

The Stars, 12-1 and No.6 in Class 4A, will open the event against No.9 Lake Central (11-1) at 10 a.m. That will be followed by No.1 Lawrence Central (13-1) facing dangerous Noblesville (7-5) in the second game. The consolation is set for 6 p.m., while the first-round winners will clash in the final at 7:30.

That’s semistate level competition, heavyweight championship contenders with possible Miss Basketballs, with major college recruits on every roster. It’s a basketball junkie’s dream day.

“It’s a great test to see where we are, from a state level,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “This tournament, with Coach’s name on it, means a lot to us. We will compete hard.”

BNL’s Chloe Spreen is averaging 21.6 points while continuing to climb the school’s career scoring list.

BNL’s clash with Lake Central is a rematch of last year’s weather-impacted event. The Indians, thanks to last-minute reshuffling of the pairings, had to face Noblesville in a morning clash, then battle the Stars after a 90-minute rest. They looked tired and quickly lost interest during a 54-24 loss.

“It was just an unlevel playing field,” Lake Central coach Joe Huppenthal said. “The weather played havoc, which we had no control over that. We’re looking forward to it this year. We get to prepare, we know who we’re playing.” In fact, Lake Central requested the chance to meet BNL first.

The Indians return all five starters, and they have four players averaging nearly identical numbers. Senior forward Nadia Clayton totals 10.3 points, junior forward Ayla Krygier adds 10.2, and senior Aniyah Bishop contributes 10.1. That balance (plus senior guard Riley Milausnic at 9.5) makes them difficult to control.

“They’re athletic, they have multiple scoring options, they’re really solid,” Allen said. “They cause a lot of people a lot of problems. Hopefully we can do a great job defensively. They share the basketball, and each kid has a different attribute. They can all hurt you in a different area.”

“Our kids have bought into the concept that winning is more important than statistics,” Huppenthal said. “I’m a guy that thinks statistics are for losers. This team has been through the wars. Experience is something you can’t replace. Until kids go through the wins, the losses and the grind, you can’t put a price on that.“

Lake Central’s Aniyah Bishop and the No.9 Indians will get a second shot at the Stars.

BNL will counter with senior Chloe Spreen, the Miss Basketball frontrunner and Alabama recruit who is averaging 21.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, plus the all-around excellence of senior Madisyn Bailey (10.4 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 steals). Freshman forward Miley Sherrill raised her scoring to 9.8 after a career-high 18 against Fort Wayne Northrup.

“I know they are well coached, I know they have Chloe,” Huppenthal said. “Those two factors make it a challenge. We’re looking forward to it. Those kids don’t expect to lose on that floor.”

The Stars have won their last six, although the last three have been by an average of only 4 points. Their offensive output has dropped to 43 points per game during that span. That’s not unusual for teams going through this “dead zone” time. Fatigue can become a factor.

“When you get to this point, it’s refreshing to have a few days off and have something exciting,” Allen said. “We’re still getting it done. We haven’t played well all the time, but we’ve made plays when we needed, and I’m really proud of them for that. We’re starting to come into our own, and I think we will start playing some really good basketball.

“If we get in a close game, we’re well prepared. We’ve been in a lot of them. You can’t coach that. They have to execute and make plays, and that’s invaluable. We like where we are. Every little win we squeak out, we get a little more confident. Sometimes you just have to battle and win.”

Noblesville star Reagan Wilson leads the Millers in scoring at 16.8.

Lawrence Central vs. Noblesville: Lawrence Central, coached by former Purdue star and WNBA veteran Jannon Lampley, ascended to the top of the polls as it has gone undefeated against Hoosier competition. It’s lone loss came against George Rogers Clark (one of the top-ranked teams in Kentucky).

The Bears feature junior forward Jaylah Lampley (20.5 points, 6.1 boards) and sophomore sister Lola Lampley (9.9 points, 6.2 boards). Both of the coach’s daughters are being recruited by a long list of major powers, including Connecticut, Indiana, Purdue, Louisville and Kentucky – just to whittle down the list for space purposes.

They will also get scoring from sophomore Aniyah McKenzie (10.8 points, 5.5 boards) and junior guard Laila Abdurraqib (10.6 points, 3.4 assists).

“Our team has come a long way – but we still have a long way to go,” coach Lampley said. “What makes us tough is our mindset, our willingness and ability to defend at all five positions, and our defensive discipline. We challenge them every game, and they continue to come up big.”

Noblesville coach Donna Buckley has recorded 332 career wins in 24 seasons.

Lawrence Central allows only 36.8 points per game.

But don’t overlook the Millers. Their leader is senior Reagan Wilson, another Miss Basketball candidate who is totaling 16.8 points. In case BNL’s fan base has forgotten, she led Noblesville to a pair of wins over the Stars last season, hitting the game-winning shot at the end of double overtime in the Hall of Fame Classic. Junior center Meredith Tippner adds 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds, and senior Ava Shoemaker is a solid third option at 12.3 points.

“Reagan has become more of a scorer for us this season,” Noblesville coach Donna Buckley said. “She has shot the three really well and has extended her range. Tippner has continued to improve her all-around game and is more balanced and better at finishing in the paint.”

“Noblesville has an experienced team that has played in big moments,” Lampley said. “They have a couple of girls that can put the ball in the basket at a high clip, they pound the boards hard with (C.C.) Quigley and Tippner. We will need to handle their pressure and not get swallowed up with their 1-3-1 and changing defenses, but also not let Wilson get hot.”

BNL senior Madisyn Bailey leads the Stars in assists and steals.



When: Friday, 10 a.m.

Records: Lake Central 11-1, ranked No.9 in Class 4A; BNL 12-1, ranked No.6 in Class 4A

Sagarin ratings: Lake Central 92.89; BNL 90.70

Last meeting: Last year at BNL, the Stars stormed to a 54-24 victory in the final game of the Pete Pritchett Classic. Chloe Spreen had 20 points for the Stars. The Indians, playing only 90 minutes after a loss to Noblesville, hit only 10 of 47 shots.

Previous game story: Stars bounce back to drain Lake Central

Game notes: Spreen needs 19 points to catch Marla (Inman) Eltrevoog for third place, and 33 points to match Dominique McBryde for second, on BNL’s career scoring list.

BNL statisitcs

Lake Central statistics

Starting lineups

Bedford NL Stars

F – Chloe Spreen 5-10 Sr.

F – Miley Sherrill 5-9 Fr.

G – Madisyn Bailey 5-9 Sr.

G – Trinidy Bailey 5-7 So.

G – Tori Nikirk 5-6 Jr.

Lake Central Indians

F – Nadia Clayton 5-8 Sr.

F – Ayla Krygier 6-0 Jr.

F – Aniyah Bishop 5-10 Sr.

G – Riley Milausnic 5-7 Sr.

G – Vanessa Wimberly 5-6 Jr.


When: Friday, 11:45 a.m.

Records: Lawrence Central 13-1, ranked No.1 in Class 4A; Noblesville 7-5

Sagarin ratings: Lawrence Central 104.20; Noblesville 97.43

Last meeting: Noblesville prevailed 77-62 during the 2020-21 regular season clash at Lawrence Central

Game notes: Lawrence Central coach Jannon Lampley played for Purdue and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1997. She also played for the Orlando Miracle in the WNBA. Noblesville coach Donna Buckley has won 332 games during a 24-year career.

Lawrence Central statistics

Noblesville statistics

Starting lineups

Lawrence Central Bears

F – Jaylah Lampley 6-1 Jr.

F – Aniyah McKenzie 5-11 So.

F – Lola Lampley 6-2 So.

G – Laila Abdurraqib 5-7 Jr.

G – Melaya Hughes 5-7 Jr.

Noblesville Millers

F – Meredith Tippner 5-10 Jr.

F – C.C. Quigley 6-2 So.

F – Ava Shoemaker 5-9 Sr.

G – Reagan Wilson 5-8 Sr.

G – Kate Rollins 5-7 Jr.