Decisions, defense the difference as Lake Central snuffs Stars 43-41 in Pritchett Classic opener

BNL’s Chloe Spreen looks for room to attack against Lake Central’s Riley Milausnic. Spreen had 11 points and 10 rebounds, but the No.6 Stars suffered a 43-41 loss in the opening game of the Pete Pritchett Limestone Classic on Friday morning.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Without oxygen, life ceases. That’s a scientific certainty. And it’s also a basketball fact of life.

Lake Central’s suffocating defense choked the life from Bedford North Lawrence’s attack. The Stars gasped and coughed, couldn’t get their offensive breath, and suffered the expected consequences. Their second-half demise cost them the opening game of the Pete Pritchett Limestone Classic.

Lake Central surrendered only five baskets after intermission and rallied from an early eight-point deficit as the No.9 Indians stopped No.6 BNL 43-41 on Friday morning. Nadia Clayton had 11 points as Lake Central (12-1) advanced to the championship game to clash with No.1 Lawrence Central, which topped Noblesville 55-45 in the second contest.

BNL (12-2) could not generate any noise during a quiet second half. Blame that on 10 turnovers in that span, credit that to Lake Central’s swarming of BNL star Chloe Spreen, who was limited to a season-low 11 points. After a sensational start, with 18 points in the first quarter, BNL’s explosiveness was snuffed.

The Indians weren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but they took their first lead with 7 minutes left, pushed to a 42-37 advantage on two Clayton free throws with 34.8 remaining, and survived a last-second BNL possession to force overtime.

“Defense is our mojo, the staple of our program,” Lake Central coach Joe Huppenthal said. “If you don’t guard, you don’t play. We did a good job of that down the stretch. A good day for us. Kudos to our kids, we keep grinding, grinding, grinding. It was a tough matchup for us, because they are good.“

BNL was brilliant early, as Tori Nikirk and Madisyn Bailey hit their first four treys, the last of that flurry giving the Stars their first separation at 18-10. Trinidy Bailey’s corner bomb restored that margin at 23-15 midway through the second quarter. But BNL would hit only one more from long range after that. And that was a problem, because Spreen was attracting the expected double- and triple-team attention in the paint.

“Chloe is the oxygen to the brain for them,” Huppenthal said. “Sometimes you have to cut the oxygen off, and you know what happens. We were worried. We knew they could shoot it. That first half, those kids shot lights out. If they do that, they’re hard to beat because you’re giving so much help on Spreen.”

Spreen didn’t score until two free throws at 4:26 of the second quarter, didn’t make a shot until 2:35 left in the first half. She had two buckets in the final 23 seconds as the Stars desperately battled back, the last a rebound of her own miss with 5.7 remaining that cut Lake Central’s lead to 43-41. The Indians turned it over with 1.2 left, giving the Stars one last opportunity to rescue a win. But the lob to Spreen in the post was momentarily fumbled, and she couldn’t get off a shot in time.

BNL’s Miley Sherrill finds a rare opening in the paint. Sherrill had 7 points and 10 boards.

Spreen added 10 rebounds to her point total. Miley Sherrill totaled 7 points and 10 boards. But the turnovers, 15 total that included some head-shaking soft passes and unforced errors, were the fatal issue.

“Bad decisions,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “Every time we had a chance to extend our lead, we had a bad decision. Defensively, they were good, but we had possessions in the second half to extend our lead and turned it over.

“That’s why we play these games, against good teams, to get better. Some of that stuff we can control ourselves. These kids are high-level athletes and they’re making it difficult on Chloe. We have to have other options to take that pressure off. She has to do a better job of staying calm and finding open teammates.”

Riley Milausnic had 10 points (all in the first half) for the Indians, who avenged a lackluster loss to BNL in last year’s event. That one was impacted by weather, and Lake Central had to play the Stars with only 90 minutes of rest after a loss to Noblesville. The Indians requested a first-round chance to show their true colors this time, and often that would fall under the category of being careful what is wished for. But their defense was outstanding and backed up their call for the rematch.

“We wanted to play them because we respect them,” Huppenthal said. “Now we’ll try to enjoy this for about five minutes. At least we’re playing for a championship.”

BNL will face Noblesville (7-6) in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

Lawrence Central 55, Noblesville 45: Jaylah Lampley scored 25 points as the Bears (14-1) advanced to the final and remained unbeaten against Indiana competition. Laila Abdurraqib added 12 points. Reagan Wilson paced the Millers (7-6) with 14 points while C.C. Quigley added 11.

BNL’s Tori Nikirk lines up a 3-pointer. Nikirk hit two from long range for 6 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

4 Nadia Clayton, f 3-5 3-9 2-2 2 3 11

35 Ayla Krygier, f 1-2 1-4 0-0 3 1 3

33 Aniyah Bishop, f 0-0 3-6 3-6 7 1 9

2 Riley Milausnic, g 2-4 4-11 0-0 0 0 10

23 Vanessa Wimberly, g 1-2 2-6 1-2 2 1 6

1 Kennedie Burks 0-2 0-4 0-0 2 1 0

32 Alexa Iwema 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 2 2

20 Bryn Leonard 0-0 1-2 0-0 1 1 2

Totals 6-15 15-43 6-10 20 10 43


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

2 Chloe Spreen, f 0-5 4-13 3-5 10 2 11

22 Miley Sherrill, f 1-1 2-2 2-2 10 2 7

24 Madisyn Bailey, g 2-6 2-9 0-0 2 0 6

32 Trinidy Bailey, g 1-3 2-4 0-2 5 3 5

12 Tori Nikirk, g 2-3 2-3 0-0 0 4 6

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

23 Katie Godlevske 0-1 2-3 0-0 0 0 4

Totals 6-18 15-35 5-9 31 12 41

Lake Central 12 14 7 10 – 43

Bedford NL 18 11 6 6 – 41

Turnovers – Lake Central 6, BNL 15

Field goal percentage – Lake Central 15-43 (.349); BNL 15-35 (.429)

Free throw percentage – Lake Central 6-10 (.600); BNL 5-9 (.556)


Noblesville (7-6) – Ally Hutchinson 4, Brooklyn Grayson 2, Reagan Wilson 14, Meredith Tippner 7, Kate Rollins 5, Bri Gray 2, C.C. Quigley 11

Lawrence Central (14-1) – Lola Lampley 7, Mariah Garrett 2, Melaya Hughes 2, Jaylah Lampley 25, Aniyah McKenzie 7, Laila Abdurraqib 12

BNL’s Madisyn Bailey drives around a defender. Bailey scored 6 points.