BNL foursome ready to celebrate the best year of their lives on Senior Night

BNL’s Trace Rynders and his senior classmates will celebrate Senior Night when the Stars host Evansville North on Saturday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Some time in the future, seniors will look back, telling stories of yesteryear, realizing these were the best days of their lives. Back in the winter of ‘24. Some guys from school, had a team and they tried real hard. And if they had a choice, they would always want to be there.

But time always wins. Nothing lasts forever.

Four seniors will make their final appearances in BNL Fieldhouse when Bedford North Lawrence hosts Evansville North on Saturday night. Noah Godlevske, Trace Rynders, Maddox Ray and Kline Woodward have taken different journeys to converge at this moment, the emotional finale that marks the passage toward the next chapter of life. They’ll hold their mama’s hand, knowing it’s now or never when they make that walk to center court for the celebration.

Each senior story is unique, each perspective offers a distinct view that defines the success under their leadership.

Rynders is the hard-nosed rock, one who has sacrificed personal glory for team need. Ray is the emotional spark, one who loves to be a defensive pest more than an offensive producer. Godlevske is the even-keel shooter, the coach’s son who is a walking definition of gym rat. Woodward is the late arrival, who places friendship at the top of his priority list. And they’ve come together under a new coach for their final season.

“It’s come really fast,” Rynders said. “It’s hitting us all at once, it’s setting in that it’s almost over. It really sucks, because you leave behind a bunch of good memories. And you won’t be able to do it anymore.”

Rynders and Ray are defensive stoppers. Kurt Godlevske gave them that assignment when he took over the program. It’s been a perfect role.

“We were given a job,” Rynders said. “It’s not the easiest job to do, probably the hardest. One of us is on the best player every night. We take a lot of pride in that. It’s really team oriented and it takes all five guys out there to win.“

BNL senior Noah Godlevske, the coach’s son, is one of the team scoring leaders.

Ray brings a football mentality to the floor. Basketball is not his favorite among the multiple sports he plays, but it allows him to show his best skills. “My effort and defense has kept me playing,” he said with a smile, “because I think it’s fun.”

“Trace and Maddox bought into how I wanted to play, how I wanted to utilize them in their roles,” Coach Godlevske said. “That was a positive factor in our success. Those two set the tone for who we are and how we play.”

Noah has thrived as a scorer since he arrived last season. As a junior, he was a totally perimeter weapon when Colten Leach and Colton Staggs would probe and attack, waiting for a pass to the corner for his deadly jumper. This year he’s been asked to do more, with the father-son dynamic in play.

“At times it’s been harder, at times it’s been easier,” Noah said. “We have a great relationship, but it comes with expectations on me. I get my butt chewed more than anybody else. Part of it is Patric (Matson) and I get yelled at more, because he said if you can’t hold your best players accountable, everyone else will be unaccountable.

“I love the grind. When I’m playing by myself, there’s nothing on my mind but basketball. It’s not escaping from problems, it’s just kind of peaceful. That’s something I can always fall back on. These have been the best two years of basketball. Last year’s group took me in and made it feel like family. This year’s group is great people. It’s been awesome to be a part of it.”

Coach Godlevske has gone through what every father who has coached his son has encountered – balancing how he treats his son without showing favoritism or being too tough because of that relationship.

BNL’s Maddox Ray, a three-sport athlete, enjoys his role as a defensive stopper.

“As he’s gotten older, it’s been my expectation for him to know and almost be thinking the exact same thing I’m thinking,” Kurt said. “I didn’t try to treat him any differently than I would any other individual that’s playing for me. I want all the kids to have that respect and feel like they’re being treated like they are my own son.”

Woodward has come full circle. He played as a freshman, sat out as a sophomore, then returned last season. When this year began, he had decided to not play, then immediately regretted it as he watched his friends from his front-row seat among the student section in the south end zone. After missing six games, he asked persimmon to rejoin the program. Coach Godlevske viewed his return as a positive thing.

“I was pretty nervous,” Woodward said about his preparation to approach Godlevske. “I talked to my parents about it, I didn’t know what he would say. It’s awesome that he did it. The main thing was I wanted to win games and spend time with my friends. I wanted to enjoy every part of my senior year that I could, and I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Nothing was given, I had to earn it.”

That’s been BNL’s motto. Nothing given, earn it. These four seniors have earned the honor of celebration. They appreciate the time together, even this bitter-sweet moment. “It’s kind of crazy,” Noah said.

“Coach made sure this would be one of our best years of basketball,” Rynders said.

What’s not a given is a win on Senior Night. The Huskies (10-9 heading into a Friday night test at Castle) would love to spoil the party, and they have that capability with 6-6 post Cayden Gehlhausen (16.2 points, 7.7 rebounds) and senior guard Brayden Huebner (13.6 points, 4.6 assists).

“Their size and athleticism sticks out to me,” Coach Godlevske said. “They’re a scary team. If you catch them on the wrong night, it will be pretty tough.”

BNL senior Kline Woodward returned to the program after missing the first six games this season.


When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Records: Evansville North 10-9 (at Castle on Friday); BNL 12-6 (at New Albany on Friday)

Sagarin ratings: Evansville North 79.52; BNL 77.03

Last meeting: Last year at North, Noah Godlevske scored 18 points as the Stars posted a 54-40 win. Colton Staggs added 17 points for BNL. Bryson Chapman and Brayden Huebner had 11 points each for the Huskies.

Previous game story: Stars bounce back with Valentine victory

Game notes: North spoiled Senior Day for the Stars in 2022, recording an 82-76 win in double overtime.

Starting lineups

Bedford NL Stars

F – Patric Matson 6-3 Jr.

F – Kline Woodward 6-3 Sr.

G – Noah Godlevske 5-11 Sr.

G – Trace Rynders 5-11 Sr.

G – Maddox Ray 5-11 Sr.

Evansville North Huskies

F – Bryson Chapman 6-3 So.

F – Ashton Smallwood 6-1 SAr.

C – Cayden Gehlhausen 6-6 Sr.

G – Brayden Huebner 6-1 Sr.

G – Keamare Barnes 5-11 Sr.