Stars, Devils up on the stage for spotlight clash in HHC race

BNL’s Noah Godlevske and the Stars will journey to Jeffersonville for a key HHC battle on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Nearing the end of a busy and brutal month, after playing seven games in 18 days, Bedford North Lawrence coach Kurt Godlevske decided to reward his tiring team with two days off. And the Stars turned him down. Disproving the popular criticism about the work ethic of today’s youth, the Stars requested permission to meet for more shooting practice.

Sounds like the Stars are Bob Seger fans. Every ounce of energy, they try to give away, as the sweat pours out their bodies . . . More practice. Allen Iverson would be aghast. Can BNL continue to pour out sweet string music? They’re on the road again, up on the stage, for a crucial Hoosier Hills Conference clash with another title contender.

BNL will make the long journey to Johnson Arena for a key league battle with Jeffersonville on Friday night. Both are defending co-champions from a year ago, but only one will remain in contention to repeat that, needing a victory to remain in the chase of frontrunner Seymour.

The Stars (10-3 overall, 2-1 in the league) still have their fate in their own hands. Win out, and they can claim at least a piece of the crown. The Red Devils (10-6, 3-1) can accomplish that same goal, by winning their last two conference collisions, even if the Owls (4-1 atop the standings) prevail in their league finale against Floyd Central. That’s why the spotlight is focused on this one.

BNL junior Patric Matson leads the team in scoring at 19.5.

“I believe the HHC is one of the toughest conferences in the state,” Jeffersonville coach Sherron Wilkerson said. “Every team in our conference is well coached and well prepared for every opponent. It’s an honor to have opportunity to be in discussions for the conference championship.”

The Devils certainly have the momentum for a title drive. They have won three straight games, and five of their last six, after a 5-5 start. Their Sagarin rating (10th in the state, according to the computer) reflects their toughness of their schedule, and their recent surge reflects the rapid maturing of a junior-heavy, talented lineup.

Jeffersonville returns four starters from last season. Michael Cooper leads the team in scoring at 15.4, P.J. Douglas averages 13.4 points and 5.8 boards, and most of the attention is locked on 6-8 forward Tre Singleton (12.9 points, 6.3 boards), who already holds college offers from Indiana State, IUPUI, Valparaiso and others. On paper, the Devils were the preseason league and sectional favorite. They’ve already been battle tested.

“We have grown exponentially due to the schedule we have played,” Wilkerson said. “The better your competition, the faster the maturity of our program and players.”

Jeffersonville junior Tre Singleton holds college offers from multiple Div. I programs.

Godlevske dug a little deeper in his scouting report, pointing to the overlooked backcourt (junior Shawn Boyd and senior Jeremy Rose) as the reason for Jeffersonville’s recent success.

“What I’ve been most impressed with is their guard play,” he said. “They’re making shots, they seem to be really comfortable at home. When they can do that, they can score points in a hurry.

“They’re very balanced. With their starting five, any of them can put up double figures on you. They’re playing really confident, and the way they play is very carefree and aggressive. That’s a scary thing for a team like us, because it’s almost the exact opposite of how we like to play.”

If it’s a shooting contest, the Stars have the edge. Junior forward Patric Matson (19.5, hitting 56 percent of his shots) and senior guard Noah Godlevske (15.5, with 41 treys) have been a dynamic and explosive duo. Even with recent cooling, BNL is still connecting on a torrid 52.5 percent from the field.

“BNL is well coached, highly organized, very disciplined, and they play very well as one unit,” Wilkerson said. “We will have to play very well to have a chance to win.”

Last year, BNL prevailed 55-50, and three players did all the damage. Colton Staggs scored 22 points, Godlevske added 21 (hitting five from deep) and Colten Leach totaled 12 as the Stars ended a four-game losing streak in the historic and contentious series. Singleton had 17 points and Cooper 12 for the Devils.

Jeffersonville coach Sherron Wilkerson has guided the Devils to three straight wins.


When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Records: BNL 10-3 (2-1 in HHC); Jeffersonville 10-6 (3-1 in HHC)

Sagarin ratings: BNL 77.60; Jeffersonville 90.65

Last meeting: Last year at BNL, three Stars did all the scoring as BNL posted a 55-50 victory. Colton Staggs had 22 points, Noah Godlevske added 21 and Colten Leach totaled 12. Tre Singleton paced the Red Devils with 17 points.

Previous game story: Stars handle the heat

Game notes: Jeffersonville leads the overall series 33-29, having won four of the last five meetings.

Jeffersonville statistics

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.

Jeffersonville Red Devils

F – P.J. Douglas 6-4 Jr.

F – Tre Singleton 6-8 Jr.

G – Michael Cooper 6-3 Jr.

G – Jeremy Rose 6-0 Sr.

G – Shawn Boyd 5-10 Jr.