What a rush! Matson sparks BNL rally as Stars conquer Reitz in overtime

BNL’s Patric Matson drives around Reitz’s Braylen Langley on his way to the basket. Matson scored 25 points as the Stars rallied for a 61-59 overtime win on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland


BEDFORD – Adrenaline, the powerful stress hormone, was rushing through Patric Matson’s body. His heart and lungs were working overtime, oxygen was overflowing his muscles. It also added to the anxiousness of the moment, which didn’t need any more tension than already existed.

Free-throw line, game on the line, only a few seconds left. It’s either a dream scenario or a nightmare. Most players have fantasized about that situation, but few can handle the reality of it, as imaginary heroes often turn to stone. It takes a clutch gene to overpower the adrenaline rush.

Swish, swish. Matson was the coolest kid in BNL Fieldhouse, converting two at the line with 3.8 seconds left as the Stars conquered Evansville Reitz, 61-59 in overtime, during an epic classic on Friday night. Matson finished with a career-high 25 points as BNL (6-2) extended its winning streak to five straight.

The Stars came of age under duress. Reitz, loaded with young talent, owned an eight-point lead in the second half, a four-point advantage with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. BNL responded with huge plays during the most crucial moments, on both ends, to wrest a win away.

The Panthers (4-6) were poised for a huge road triumph. Braylen Langley’s layup, following a Jaylan Mitchell steal, gave Reitz a 51-47 edge with two minutes remaining in regulation. From that point, BNL constructed a next-level comeback. Maddox Ray scored off an inbound set, Trace Rynders turned a steal into a breakaway layup. After Mitchell, a 6-7 freshman who’s going to be a household name for some major program in the future, soared for a tip and 53-51 lead, Matson came back with a 15-footer that bounced a few times on the rim before dropping.

In the extra period, the Stars (who had the lead for only five possessions during the first four quarters) switched from pursuers to dictators. Matson posted up in the lane for a go-ahead basket, then found Logan Miracle for a layup and 57-53 lead. After an exchange of free throws, Reitz point guard Jayce Swanson buried a corner trey with 21.6 seconds left.

Matson was fouled against the Reitz press, but he made only one. Mitchell crashed to the basket for a 59-59 deadlock with nine seconds left. As BNL scrambled to the other end, with no timeouts available, Matson was bumped in the backcourt, with Reitz forgetting that fouling was no longer necessary. This time, Matson was perfect, and a desperate jumper by Reitz’s Jayden Overton was harmless.

Whew! What a breathless finish.

Reitz freshman Jaylan Mitchell towers over BNL’s Noah Godlevske while finding an open teammate. Mitchell had 19 points and 8 rebounds.

“It was a game we needed to have,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “In the fourth quarter, we grew up and grew as as team. We made plays, clutch plays, either getting stops, getting steals and executing. Kids weren’t afraid to step up, and Patric was huge.”

“It was kind of nervous,” Matson said. “There was a lot of pressure with the game on the line.”

Pressure was constant. Reitz blasted to a quick six-point lead as Mitchell, who’s already on the recruiting radar of multiple Div. I programs, was a menace in the paint. He scored 8 quick points, although Noah Godlevske countered with two jumpers and three free throws to get BNL (which aided Reitz’s initial surge with five turnovers) within 16-15.

BNL finally took its first leads on two Miracle free throws (22-20) and a Matson jumper (24-22), but that didn’t last long. Overton’s bomb and Langley’s rebound of his own miss got Reitz back in command, before Ray capped the first half with a rebound bucket (off an air ball) at the buzzer, cutting the Reitz edge to 27-26.

Matson opened the third quarter with two baskets, and Godlevske stroked a 15-footer after beating the press for the last BNL leads in regulation. The Panthers made their first move with a 9-0 run as Langley popped a 15-footer, scooped a loose ball for a layup, and swooped the lane for his third straight bucket. Mitchell buried a three for a 40-32 lead that forced BNL to regroup and recover.

“It was difficult, it put a lot of stress on us to score,” Godlevske said. “That run was deflating, but Quincy’s three (Pickett popped from the deep corner to power the Stars within 42-40) got us going again. We just kept fighting and scratching, gave ourselves a shot.”

BNL’s Noah Godlevske dribbles through traffic. Godlevske scored 15 points.

Matson had 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. “We just had to focus,” he said, “move the ball around, find open shots and get in the lane.”

Godlevske added 15 points, all in the first three quarters, for the Stars.

“Those guys have shooters,” Reitz coach Austin Brooks said. “That kid can flat-out play. When I saw him on film, I didn’t know that was his stature (allegedly 5-11). He’s a small guard, I love small guards. He was fearless.”

Mitchell finished with 19 points and 8 boards, while Langley added 18 points and 7 rebounds. The Panthers dominated the glass 32-15, but their late turnovers (five in the fourth quarter) were their demise.

“We don’t value possessions,” Brooks said. “We turned the ball over at crucial moments, missed a couple of shots we usually hit, and didn’t stay connected. We just didn’t have that maturity we really need to settle everybody down in those crucial moments. It’s not a good feeling, knowing we should have won that game and let it slip away.

“It’s on us, it’s on me as a coach. We didn’t slow the guys down to get them in the right spots at crucial moments. At the end of the day, we’ll take this as a learning lesson.”

BNL maintained its remarkable shooting percentage, connecting on 23 of 39. Ray and Miracle finished with 6 points each as the Stars posted their most impressive win thus far.

“We got a really nice one against a really good team,” Godlevske said.

The Stars will visit South Knox on Saturday. The Spartans fell to Northeast Dubois 43-35 on Friday night, slipping to 4-7.

BNL’s Logan Miracle looks for an angle to launch a shot in the paint. Miracle scored 6 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

20 Braylen Langley, f 0-0 7-15 4-4 7 3 18

21 Ke Pace, f 0-0 3-4 2-4 5 4 8

0 Jayce Swanson, g 1-1 4-9 0-0 3 0 9

11 Evan Hayes, g 0-0 0-2 0-0 2 4 0

24 Jaylan Mitchell, g 1-4 9-18 0-0 8 4 19

33 Jayden Overton 1-6 1-8 0-0 2 1 3

30 Aiden Knowles 0-0 1-1 0-0 2 1 2

Totals 3-12 25-57 6-8 32 17 59


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

10 Patric Matson, f 1-4 10-16 4-6 2 1 25

31 Logan Miracle, f 0-0 1-3 4-4 5 4 6

11 Noah Godlevske, g 2-6 5-12 3-3 2 1 15

1 Trace Rynders, g 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 2 2

12 Maddox Ray, g 0-0 3-4 0-0 1 2 6

22 Isaiah Sasser 0-0 2-2 0-1 0 1 4

3 Quincy Pickett 1-1 1-1 0-0 1 0 3

40 Kline Woodward 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

5 Dax Short 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 4-11 23-39 11-13 15 11 61

Evan. Reitz 16 11 17 9 6 – 59

Bedford NL 15 11 14 13 8 – 61

Turnovers – Reitz 14, BNL 13

Field goal percentage – Reitz 25-57 (.439); BNL 23-39 (.590)

Free throw percentage – Reitz 6-8 (.750); BNL 11-13 (.846)