Reitz’s perimeter size will test streaking Stars

BNL senior Trace Rynders and the Stars will seek their fifth straight win when they host Evansville Reitz on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Basketball’s land of the giants typically restricts its borders to the “paint.” Otherwise known as the free-throw lane, that’s where the bigs dominate. Enter at your own risk.

Evansville Reitz has reversed that old-school view. The tallest Panthers, including a freshman sensation cut from the Magic Johnson mold, roam the perimeter. It’s no stretch to state Reitz will look down on Bedford North Lawrence’s height-challenged backcourt.

With 6-7 guard Jaylan Mitchell as the focal point, with 6-7 sophomore wing Braylen Langley adding length on the outside, the Panthers will invade BNL Fieldhouse on Friday night. Reitz (4-5) is going through some growing pains of youth, but their sheer size advantage will test the streaking Stars, who have won four straight.

Mitchell is the most intriguing problem. He’s averaging 15.6 points and 9.9 rebounds, and he already holds Div. I recruiting offers from Illinois, Missouri and Arizona State, in addition to the local programs in Evansville. Langley contributes 7.2 points.

“The part that scares me is the perimeter size,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “We’ve dealt with the interior, but with guys that big that handle the ball and shoot it as well as those two do, we have to pressure them and make it difficult on the catch. We have to disrupt things, keep them out of the paint.

“Mitchell has got size, he looks like he has tremendous potential, especially the way he handles the ball. They’re both really nice players. What drew my eye is they don’t force things. They take what is available to them, and they have complementary players around them that know their roles. They’re a pretty dangerous team.”

“Jaylan is getting adjusted to the physicality and speed of high school basketball,” Reitz coach Austin Brooks said. “He see’s the floor really well and is a three-way scorer. He has struggled our last three games scoring the ball, but he does so much more that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet.”

BNL junior Patric Matson is averaging 19.6 points while shooting 61.7 percent from the floor.

Reitz also gets production from junior guard Jayce Swanson (10.3 points, 3.8 assists) and junior Evan Hayes (9.7 points).

BNL (5-2) might be the most dangerous team around right now. After torching Martinsville 73-44 on Tuesday night, the Stars have shot a remarkable 60 percent during their four-game run, and they’ve hit 70-plus points three times during that span.

“BNL reminds me alot of the Jennings County team we played in the regional last year,” Brooks said. “They play with a good pace and have shooters that can hit big shots. They play connected and have had a lot of success thus far in the season.”

Junior wing Patric Matson leads the way at 19.6 points (while shooting 61.7 percent from the floor), and senior Noah Godlevske is totaling 18.6 (with 27 treys). On the other end, BNL is allowing only 49.6 points, an important stat often overshadowed by the gaudy shooting. Opponents are shooting only 31 percent from long range, and credit for that goes to the backcourt triplets of Trace Rynders, Maddox Ray and Godlevske. BNL, even with the 5-11 guard trio, has not been outrebounded since the first two games.

“Patric and Noah have been the spark plugs on offense,” Godlevske said. “Trace has embraced what I asked him to do, his primary job, which is to defend. We need him. His points are very valuable. It’s all about the winning. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The last meeting with Reitz was no fun at all. Last season, BNL was miserable from the field (16 of 60) and suffered a 48-44 road loss. Colton Staggs had 15 points for the Stars, while Isaac Higgs had 21 for the Panthers, who missed 12 fourth-quarter free throws.

BNL senior Noah Godlevske is averaging 18.6 points.


When: Friday, 8 p.m.

Records: Evansville Reitz 4-5; BNL 5-2

Sagarin rating: Evansville Reitz 75.29; BNL 82.19

Last meeting: Last year at Reitz, the Panthers prevailed 48-44. Isaac Higgs had 21 points for Reitz. Colton Staggs totaled 15 for the Stars, who hit only 16 of 60 shots.

Previous game story: Panthers scratch their way to ugly win

Game notes: Reitz has won five of the last six meetings in the series. BNL is off to its best start since going 7-1 to begin the 2017-18 season.

Starting lineups

Bedford NL Stars

F – Patric Matson 6-3 Jr.

F – Logan Miracle 6-4 Jr.

G – Maddox Ray 5-11 Sr.

G – Noah Godlevske 5-11 Sr.

G – Trace Rynders 5-11 Sr.

Evansville Reitz Panthers

F – Ke Pace 6-4 Sr.

F – Braylen Langley 6-7 So.

G – Jaylan Mitchell 6-7 Fr.

G – Jayce Swanson 5-8 Jr.

G – Evan Hayes 5-11 Jr.