Seymour’s ‘external force’ to test BNL’s winning streak in battle for HHC lead

BNL scoring leader Patric Matson and the Stars (9-2 with eight straight wins) will battle Seymour (11-3) for the HHC lead on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Sir Issac Newton, the father of modern physics, never played basketball. He was two hundred years early, plus he had no hand-eye coordination. The apple hit him in the head, after all. Yet his scientific formulas and discoveries are relevant to the game.

Quick science quiz. Where did the term momentum (overused in the sports world) originate? With Newton. Why are winning streaks difficult to break? Newton’s first law of motion applies. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted on by an external force.

Bedford North Lawrence will test that law on Friday night. The Stars, with an impressive eight-game winning streak, will host Seymour in a battle for the Hoosier Hills Conference lead, and the Owls certainly meet the standard of a powerful “external force.” Seymour (11-3, 3-1 in the league) is off to its best start in over 30 years, and is chasing its first conference title. The Owls have the mass and the velocity to do damage.

The Stars (9-2 and leading the HHC at 2-0) have their own historic motivation. Their winning streak and hot start is the best since 2010-11. Streaks can add the weight of expectations, but they can also foster a swelling aura of invincibility. That’s where BNL currently rests.

“It carries weight because of what we’ve done, but it also creates confidence,” BNL coach Kurt Godlevske said. “You expect to go out and play well, you expect to win, and that’s the kind of mentality and attitude we want. The kids have energy.”

The line between confident and cocky can get blurred, but the Stars are not allowing that to happen. Just as gravity keeps everyone grounded on the globe, humbleness keeps BNL grounded and focused. Two of the wins in this run included an overtime clash with Evansville Reitz, plus last week’s 58-57 win at Jennings County. The last three victories have been on the road. In this game, and in this conference, the night is always dark and full of potential terrors.

“It gives us confidence, as I feel it would with most people,” BNL senior Trace Rynders said. “At the same time, we don’t get too hung up on that. We just do what we do every day, get better, translate that into the game.”

BNL continues to shoot at a remarkable clip. Patric Matson leads the team in scoring at 20.1, and he’s converting 59.5 percent of his shots. Noah Godlevske is totaling 16.5 points and hitting 45 percent of his 3-pointers. The Stars are shooting 54 percent overall.

“I’m really impressed with the way they can shoot the basketball,” Seymour coach Kirk Manns said. “Shooting makes up for a lot of deficiencies, being able to put the ball in the basket. Matson is having a really nice year, Godlevske is shooting it really well, and the guys around them can make some shots. They understand how they have to play to be successful.”

BNL senior Maddox Ray and the Stars are off to the program’s best start since the 2010-11 season.

If there’s a team that’s the poster child for that kind of understanding, it’s Seymour. The Owls have made their mark by being ultra-patient, extra-methodical on offense, by being hard-nosed and aggressive on defense. And it’s worked. After a pedestrian 2-2 opening, they’ve won 9 of their last 10. Two of the last three wins (Bloomington North and Columbus East) have been in overtime.

“We don’t run away from anybody,” Manns said. “We’re used to playing in tight games. We’ve had some good fortune. We’ve been able to stay in some games, make some timely shots, get some timely stops.”

Seymour’s leaders include three double-digit scorers (juniors Jaylen Johnson, Brady Harpe and Michael Brooks). The notable wins also include conquests of Jeffersonville (40-39) and Jennings County (54-46).

“They don’t have tremendous size (Johnson is the tallest at 6-2), but they have a group of kids committed to what he’s doing and what they believe in,” Godlevske said. “They’re very patient, very methodical. Defensively they’re stingy. They just don’t give anything easy. I like how they compete. We don’t want to play their way, but we don’t want to give them easy baskets.“

Last year, BNL recorded a 54-37 triumph and beat the Owls at their own game. Colten Leach had 20 points, Godlevske added 12, and Seymour was limited to only two free throws in the third quarter. The Owls can’t afford another work stoppage like that.

“Not the way Bedford can shoot the basketball,” Manns said. “We have to be at the top of our game, we can’t have letdowns.”

Of course, Seymour’s last visit to BNL Fieldhouse was a 36-26 win. These Stars have been more electric on offense, averaging 59.5 points per game, with three outings of 70-plus in this streak.

“It’s great to be winning, and it will push us to keep winning, keep putting in the effort we need every single week,” BNL senior Maddox Ray said. “I think we can continue to keep winning games, and we will continue winning as long as we all do our jobs, everyone knows their role and does it to the best of our abilities.”

BNL senior Noah Godlevske is averaging 16.5 points per game.


When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Seymour 11-3 (3-1 in HHC); BNL 9-2 (2-0 in HHC)

Sagarin ratings: Seymour 79.57; BNL 80.48

Last meeting: Last year at Seymour, the Stars posted a 54-37 victory. Colten Leach had 20 points and Noah Godlevske added 12 for BNL. Jaylen Johnson had 8 points for the Owls, who scored only two points in the third quarter.

Previous game story: Stars hammer out tough victory

Game notes: BNL’s 8-game winning streak is its longest since the 2010-11 season. Seymour coach Kirk Manns is now the longest tenured coach in the HHC (five years).

BNL statistics

Starting lineups

Bedford NL Stars

F – Patric Matson 6-3 Jr.

F – Logan Miracle 6-4 Jr.

G – Noah Godlevske 5-11 Sr.

G – Trace Rynders 5-11 Sr.

G – Maddox Ray 5-11 Sr.

Seymour Owls

F – Jaylen Johnson 6-2 Jr.

F – Ethan Silcox 6-1 Sr.

G – Bret Perry 6-0 Sr.

G – Brady Harpe 6-0 Jr.

G – Michael Brooks 6-0 Jr.