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Bailey a fantastic beast as Stars cast spell on Braves

BNL’s Brayton Bailey battles in the paint. Bailey scored 27 points as the Stars fought off Class 3A No.9 Brownstown 64-60 on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

Bnlathletics.com

BEDFORD – Brayton Bailey’s back hurt, spasms causing the pain. Walking was difficult. Playing basketball? Not so much. The kid might be able to do that in a body cast.

Perhaps he waved a wand to heal his ailment. Bailey certainly cast a spell, scoring 27 points as Bedford North Lawrence worked some fourth-quarter magic to conquer Class 3A No.9 Brownstown 64-60 on Friday night.

Jathan Ritter added 12 points, including a pair of late treys, as the Stars won for the eighth time in the last nine games, starting a 3-game homestand to end the regular season with some wizardry.

Bailey was a fantastic beast, and everyone knows where to find him – headed to the basket, down the gullet of the defense, attacking with fearless abandon. If he was hurting, imagine how the Braves (14-4) feel.


Brownstown, which has won only once in BNL Fieldhouse, was poised to add another victory to that lonely total. After erasing a 10-point deficit in the first half, after grinding to a 43-38 lead early in the fourth, the Braves were in perfect position.

Poof! BNL conjured a 16-4 run. Poof! Drew Shoufler, who had disappeared with foul trouble, sparked the burst with two baskets. Splash! Ritter ripped his two crucial 3-pointers. And Wow! Aden Pemberton, a former masked bandit when a broken nose required protection early this season, made two huge defensive plays and added two free throws.

Those magic moments powered the Stars to a 54-47 lead, and they surged to 60-52 as Bailey broke free for a basket and then fed Shoufler for a layup.

Brownstown coach Dave Benter lamented four fourth-quarter turnovers (after the Braves had only 3 through the first three quarters) that shifted momentum. Pemberton had his hands on a couple, as did Bailey as he hustled back from a missed layup to poke away the ball and keep Brownstown from cutting closer in the final minute.

BNL’s McCall Ray swoops to the rim for a layup. Ray scored 7 points as BNL won its eighth game in the last nine.

“I thought, from 18-8 to being up 43-38, we completely controlled the game,” Benter said. “And we just quit executing. That’s on all of us. We started turning it over, we took two bad shots that were the same as turnovers. The turnovers killed us.”

That 18-8 lead was covered in Bailey fingerprints as he scored 8 first-quarter points, and Trey Mollet’s 3-point play (off a Lane Hawkins blocked shot and Bailey runout) created the double-digit gap. From that point, the Stars relaxed, a definite sin against a quality team. In short order, Braden Neal hit two treys, Isaac Johnson added another bomb, and Brownstown was in front.

The Braves took a 26-25 edge to halftime, but Bailey’s baseline drive and McCall Ray’s corner bomb put the Stars up 34-30. Again, Brownstown responded as Johnson and Boshears scored twice and Ethan Wischmeier turned a rebound steal into a layup. When Isaiah Wineinger started the fourth with a back-cut layup, the Braves had their biggest lead and BNL was teetering.

“They’re such a good basketball team,” Seifers said. “They make you make dumb decisions and bad mistakes. We started really well, started the third quarter really well, and we found ourselves down. We were just getting the kids to do what we do, relax and it would be OK. They finally did that.”

Brayton Bailey absorbs contact on his way through the defense. Bailey was 10-of-14 and added 8 rebounds.

Bailey disavowed the scouting report, which states “Make him go left and shoot jump shots.” He was 10-of-14 from the field, and that included a handful of pull-up 15-footers. He had 8 rebounds, not a bad effort for the walking wounded.

“He played pretty well for not being able to walk real well,” Seifers said. “I don’t know I’ve ever seen him take a play off. He’s a tremendous talent.”

“He’s really difficult to keep out of the lane, and Ritter and Ray make a difference, too,” Benter said. “He just made plays. Good players make plays.”

Johnson finished with 19 points, Boshears (who torched the Stars for 32 last season) added 14, and Neal totaled 12. Brownstown did so many things well until the final BNL surge.

“I’m just frustrated,” Benter said. “When you make a turnover and take a bad shot, that was the big difference in the fourth quarter, and then Bailey was able to start going downhill.”

Cale Bunch had three offensive rebound baskets and Shoufler had 6 fourth-quarter points, with that pair going 6-for-8 together. Pemberton, a curly-haired sophomore who plays big minutes on the junior varsity, made the plays that don’t show up in the box score.

“Aden gave us a huge spark, just huge plays,” Seifers said. “He plays defense really well and he’s a smart kid. That was good to see.”

BNL (12-8) will finish the Hoosier Hills Conference schedule on Feb. 15 with New Albany.

BNL’s Drew Shoufler scored 6 fourth-quarter points as the Stars exploded for 26 in the final period.

BROWNSTOWN BRAVES (60)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

24 Seth Borden, f 1-3 4-8 0-1 6 3 9

42 Ethan Wischmeier, f 0-2 1-3 0-0 3 2 2

30 Isaac Johnson, g 1-5 8-17 2-2 4 0 19

22 Braden Neal, g 2-4 4-7 2-2 2 4 12

14 Michael Boshears, g 3-5 5-10 1-2 0 2 14

12 Isaiah Wineinger 0-1 2-3 0-0 2 2 4

20 Matthew Garland 0-2 0-2 0-0 2 1 0

Totals 7-22 24-50 5-7 21 14 60

BEDFORD NL STARS (64)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

24 Jathan Ritter, f 3-7 3-8 3-5 7 1 12

25 Drew Shoufler, f 0-0 3-4 0-2 0 4 6

15 Cale Bunch, c 0-0 3-4 0-0 5 1 6

12 McCall Ray, g 1-6 3-12 0-0 2 2 7

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-0 10-14 7-10 8 1 27

30 Trey Mollet 0-1 1-3 2-3 2 1 4

41 Lane Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

13 Canaan Browning 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

3 Aden Pemberton 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 1 2

Totals 4-14 23-45 14-22 25 15 64

Brownstown 8 18 15 19 – 60

Bedford NL 15 10 13 26 – 64

Turnovers – Brownstown 7, BNL 8

Field goal percentage – Brownstown 24-50 (.480); BNL 23-45 (.511)

Free throw percentage – Brownstown 5-7 (.714); BNL 14-22 (.636)