By Justin Sokeland
JEFFERSONVILLE – Brayton Bailey’s week started with a social media picture that should be a possible viral post for basketball junkies: his father and legendary coach Bob Knight sandwiching the young Bedford North Lawrence star. One of these days, that photo will be a keepsake.
The last 24 hours were a whirlwind – the first practice session with new BNL coach Jeff Hein, and an appearance with the Indiana Junior All-Stars in the second half of the home-and-home series with their Kentucky counterparts.
Indiana, spurred by a little pride, crushed the Bluegrass 142-105, earning some vengeance for a loss the previous evening. Bailey, not a member of the Core 6 junior group that will play three times, had no hand in that one.
He did have some moments in the Monday night blowout at Jeffersonville.
Bailey scored 4 points, in the first half before the style of play disintegrated into playground hijinks, added 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a come-from-behind steal in his 15 minutes.
All-Star, look-at-me games are not a Bailey signature scenario. Not for his father, not for the next generation. That doesn’t mean Brayton didn’t enjoy the win.
“I’m blessed to be here, really having a good time before the games and getting to know each other,” Bailey said. “That’s what they wanted this to be about.
“This isn’t really my style of play. I’d rather be the one driving it and dishing to people. If I could do a between-the-legs dunk (which was done twice by a Hoosier, much to the delight of the Indiana bench), I would do that. I can’t do that.”
Nobody asked him to do those acrobatic aerial moves. What will be asked of him is senior leadership for a new coach. Hein was in the stands to watch his future best player, and he saw glimpses of what Bailey will offer.
His first-half baskets were his pet, patented moves: cupping the basketball in his right hand and bulling through a defender to the basket, then taking a dish from the post and pulling up from mid-range for a soft jumper.
The coming weeks are important for the Stars, with team camps in June. The morning introduction to the Hein system was much more important, even if this was a chance to wear Indiana on the chest and represent the state.
“It was a good first practice to have,” Bailey said. “Once we start to go to these camps, to actually play together, we’ll look a lot better once we gel a little more.”
Tre Coleman and Tony Perkins scored 22 points each while Dre Davis added 19 to pace the Indiana assault. Dayvion McKnight had 15 for Kentucky.
In the girls game, Kentucky rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to stun Indiana 111-107 and salvage a split of the series. Maddie Scherr had 16 points for Kentucky, while Kendall Bostic and Sydney Parrish totaled 19 each for Indiana. Jeffersonville’s Nan Garcia added 14 points for the Hoosiers.
The focus now shifts to the Senior All-Stars (featuring BNL’s Jorie Allen, the 2019 Miss Basketball), who will face the Juniors in a scrimmage on Wednesday at New Castle.