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Fiery Red Devils torch Stars in sectional semifinal

SEYMOUR – BNL’s McCall Ray drives against Jeffersonville’s Jacob Jones during Friday night’s sectional semifinal. The Red Devils shot down the Stars 75-54.

By Justin Sokeland

SEYMOUR – Revenge was served hot, scalding and devastating. Hell hath no fury like a Devil scorned.

Could you smell what Jeffersonville was cooking? The Red Devils sizzled, like bacon on the skillet, like flesh on a burner, and Bedford North Lawrence was powerless to douse the fires that burned down its postseason.

With point guard Jacob Jones directing an amazing offensive display, the Red Devils shot down the fried Stars 75-54 in the Class 4A sectional semifinal at Seymour on Friday night. Jones scored 21 points as Jeffersonville (18-5) avenged a regular-season loss and advanced to the championship game on Saturday night.

In the second semifinal, Derrick Stevenson hit a left-wing trey at the buzzer as New Albany stunned No.4 Floyd Central 39-36.

The Devils were fiery, heaping brimstone on BNL with every shot. Jeffersonville hit its first six attempts, Jones was 5-for-5 in the opening quarter, and the Stars were torched by a 25-point first period. Picture the Hindenburg disaster on a basketball court. BNL (13-10) got caught in a firestorm of jumpers.

Jeffersonville, ripping BNL’s soft zone to shreds and pieces, hit 16 of 20 shots in the first half while blasting to a 43-20 lead. The Devils were an unbelievable 8-of-10 from long range in that span, and they finished 25 of 35 overall.

“Could be the best I’ve seen,” BNL coach Matt Seifers said, and he had watched every Jeff game tape in preparation. “They absolutely shot us out of the gym.”

SEYMOUR – Jeffersonville’s Jacob Jones dribbles past BNL’s Brayton Bailey. Jones scored 21 points as the Red Devils avenged a regular-season loss to the Stars.

Jones was the catalyst. The kid couldn’t miss, a swish machine that hurled daggers into the Stars. He had gotten benched after the BNL win over Jeff during the regular season. He came back with a vengeance.

“Bottom line is when Jacob Jones gets started and that first ball goes in, we have a chance,” Jeffersonville coach Joe Luce said. “He’s the key. The young man did a heck of a job. He’s the engine that makes us go.”

BNL won the first encounter 67-61 with its best game of the season. The Devils, who had to share the Hoosier Hills Conference title with Floyd Central after that defeat, won the one that mattered more. They had not forgotten. Luce wouldn’t let them.

“That’s burned with me from the moment we walked off that floor, and I reminded them, without overdoing it, that we would see them again,” Luce said. “Our kids were ready to play.

“The reason we got beat in the first game, other than they played pretty well, was they forced us to scramble. When they played with the lead, it was tough to come back. When we get the lead and settle in, we’re pretty good.“

BNL could not come back. The Stars whittled into the deficit in the third as Jathan Ritter hit two treys, but the Devils were too hot, finishing with 10 3-pointers.

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Brayton Bailey is challenged by Jacob Jones and Tre Coleman in the lane. Bailey totaled 10 points.

“Some of it was they had open shots because of the way we were playing, and they stepped up and made them,” Seifers said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do against a game plan that allowed a little of that. They did exactly what they were supposed to do. You run into a buzzsaw sometimes.”

Darin Starks and Tre Coleman, who had four blocked shots and caused havoc with his ability to change shots in the paint, both had 11 points. Devean Franklin and Jaylen Fairman had 9 each as the Devils raced into the final with a 9-game winning streak.

BNL, still chasing its first sectional title since 2001, lost its fourth straight postseason opener. The last seven sectional exits have been by an average of 28.4 points. Seifers, who pointed the Stars toward a sectional title when this season started, shouldered the blame for this one.

“I absolutely failed this team this year,” he said as his third year with the program concluded. “Period. I did not coach them the way they needed to be coached, with the talent we have, to be successful. I absolutely let them down. I didn’t manage things correctly.

“And I hate it for them because this is the most talent we’ve had in a while. And I really let them down.”

McCall Ray, one of six departing seniors, paced BNL with 18 points (after scoring the first 8 when BNL was attempting to answer the Jones surge). Brayton Bailey, shadowed by the 6-6 Coleman most of the time, was limited to 10 while Ritter finished with 9.

SEYMOUR – BNL’s Jathan Ritter hit three 3-pointers and totaled 9 points.

New Albany 39, Floyd Central 36 – Stevenson’s heroic shot powered the Bulldogs (18-6) past their rivals and ended Floyd’s quest for its first sectional crown since 1989.

The Dogs, the kings with five straight sectional championships, just won’t die.

Floyd Central (21-3) pulled even on three Jake Heidbreder free throws with 8.6 seconds left. That gave New Albany time to make two quick passes and find Stevenson on the left side. His jumper set off pandemonium.

“I just let it fly,” Stevenson said. “This is everything. I’m just glad we got the win to advance.”

The fourth quarter was a gut-check test. Cobie Barnes, an Indiana State recruit and likely Indiana All-Star, gave the Highlanders a 28-27 lead with 3:37 left, and Levi Siewert buried a 3-pointer. Stevenson answered with a trey – a second-chance look after Trey Hourigan chased down Stevenson’s first miss – with 1:31 remaining.

When Barnes missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw, New Albany freshman Kaden Stanton calmly made two at the line (his only points of the night) for a 34-31 lead with 37.7 left. Heidbreder missed a wild bomb and Chris Johnson gave the Bulldogs a four-pint edge with 28.1 remaining.

Heidbreder came rushing back with a layup, and Stevenson made a free throw at 14.9. But he missed the second, and Heidbreder was fouled on a trey attempt. He made all three to force the 36-36 deadlock.

Stevenson finished with 19 points.

“That was as good of a team as there is in the state of Indiana,” New Albany coach Jim Shannon said after his Bulldogs avenged a 44-37 loss to FC during the regular season. “One of the best teams in the state, by far.

“If we had to play a best-of-7, I don’t know. But we don’t have to.”

Barnes and Heidbreder paced Floyd with 12 points each.

SEYMOUR – Brayton Bailey works into the paint for a shot. Bailey led the Stars with 7 rebounds.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

24 Jathan Ritter, f 3-8 3-11 0-1 2 3 9

25 Drew Shoufler, f 0-0 3-5 0-1 3 3 6

15 Cale Bunch, c 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 2 0

12 McCall Ray, g 2-7 6-16 4-5 1 1 18

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-0 4-12 2-3 7 3 10

41 Lane Hawkins 0-0 0-0 2-2 7 3 2

30 Trey Mollet 2-3 2-3 0-0 0 3 6

13 Canaan Browning 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 0

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

5 Brandon Flinn 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

21 Zach Sasser 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

1 Kooper Staley 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

Totals 8-19 19-49 8-12 22 22 54


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

1 Tre Coleman, f 0-1 3-5 5-8 4 0 11

12 Will Lovings-Watts, f 0-0 3-3 2-2 3 2 8

4 Devean Franklin, f 2-3 3-5 1-1 2 5 9

11 Jacob Jones, g 3-3 8-9 2-5 6 2 21

33 Darin Starks, g 2-4 4-8 1-2 0 0 11

2 Jaylen Fairman 3-3 3-3 0-0 4 1 9

5 Caleb Mason 0-1 1-2 0-0 1 2 2

3 Markez Jordan 0-0 0-0 0-2 2 1 0

24 Kobe Stoudemire 0-0 0-0 4-4 0 0 4

25 Michael O’Brien 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

35 Deydrian Hughes 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

23 Lucas Melin 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 10-15 25-35 15-23 24 13 75

Bedford NL 12 8 19 15 – 54

Jeffersonville 25 18 13 19 – 75

Turnovers – BNL 5, Jeffersonville 6

Field goal percentage – BNL 19-49 (.388); Jeffersonville 25-35 (.714)

Free throw percentage – BNL 8-12 (.667); Jeffersonville 15-23 (.652)


New Albany (18-6) – Landon Sprigler 2, Kaden Stanton 2. Derrick Stevenson 19, Chris Johnson 8, Trey Hourigan 8.

Floyd Central (21-3) – Nick Winchell 2, Jake Heidbreder 12, Levi Siewert 7, Cobie Barnes 12, Cam Sturgeon 3.

Team fouls – New Albany 14, Floyd Central 12. 3-pointers – New Albany 7 (Stevenson 4, Johnson 1, Hourigan 2); FC 3 (Heidbreder 1, Siewert 1, Barnes 1)