By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence, still an unknown commodity as it reloads for the 2019-20 campaign, faces a revealing test in its final public scrimmage prior to the start of the regular season.
The Stars, with important roles and styles to be finalized, will visit perennial Indianapolis power Heritage Christian on Saturday afternoon in the IHSAA-sanctioned scrimmage. BNL could not have picked a tougher opponent.
The Eagles, seven-time state champions under veteran coach Rick Risinger, are loaded with talent, enough to be picked as a Class 3A state contender. They will feature junior guard Ari Wiggins, labeled a 4-star recruit and “a star in the making” as she receives Div. I offers.
Wiggins averaged 20 points and 3.4 steals per game last season as Heritage Christian went 18-7 and fell to Lawrence North in the 4A sectional final. After two years at the highest level because of the success factor rule, the Eagles are ready to fly high again.
“They have great guard play, they’re outstanding,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “We’ll do our best to pressure them, keep them in front of us. If we can do that we’ll have some success.”
Wiggins, along with senior Sydney Watkins (12.7 points, 6 rebounds) and juniors Tyranny Brown and Courtney Lee, will see how BNL’s predicted press-and-run attack will measure up against elite competition.
“We have to be able to execute against their pressure,” Allen said. “They like a fast pace, too. So maybe we have to change pace a little bit, and we’ll see if we can do that. We can’t be flat out all the time. It comes with experience.”
BNL will be looking at many variables as it searches for the definitive answers to questions surrounding the graduation of Miss Basketball Jorie Allen. Who shoulders the scoring load? So far, junior Irye Gomez and senior center Madison Webb (verbally committed to SIUE) have emerged as the likely candidates. Can BNL rebound with a smaller, guard-oriented lineup? That was an issue during June scrimmages.
“We expect Heritage to be very fast, very athletic,” Gomez said. “We really need to be able to block them out, get back on them when they try to transition. We’ve done many drills on just rebounding. That’s something we’ll definitely put in our game on Saturday.”
Scrimmage action, with scripted quarters, will begin at 2 p.m. BNL is scheduled to open the season at Mooresville on Nov. 8.