By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence, which has already been through a schedule gauntlet ranked among the top 20 most difficult in the state by the Sagarin computer, will return to the tough challenges of the Hoosier Hills Conference on Tuesday night.
The Stars will welcome sectional and league rival Jennings County to BNL Fieldhouse. The Panthers have an identical record (5-7, 1-1 in the league) to match BNL, but they’ve gone a different direction to reach the same current conclusion.
Jennings has beaten only one Class 4A opponent (Seymour, now 3-8) but has faced two ranked foes (3A No.3 Greensburg and No.6 Silver Creek). The Panthers have not won a true road game yet.
BNL would love to pile on the Panthers.
“BNL is always a tough place to play,” Jennings coach Josh Land said. “Their team this year is led by several smart, talented and experienced guards that play very hard. They have played a tough schedule and are better than what their record indicates.”
Josh Pettit, a 6-4 senior, leads the Panthers in scoring at 15.3. Junior guard Aaron Martin contributes 12.3, and returning starter Weston Miller adds 8.7.
“Their team has been up and down, they’re replacing a lot of kids who graduated last year, and they’re trying to find their flow a little bit,” BNL coach Matt Seifers said. “This will be lot of what we do. Can we do what we do, and do it well enough.”
Last year, the Stars did a lot well, blasting to a 27-10 lead after the first quarter and cruising to a 64-47 victory. BNL hit 11 of 14 shots during that breathtaking opening and roared to a 40-20 lead before finally slowing down.
Brayton Bailey scored 16 points and McCall Ray added 14 for BNL, which beat Jennings for the sixth straight time. Trevor Wilson had 11 for the Panthers, who went on to finish the campaign 5-19.
The game has been postponed to Tuesday, Jan. 15.
JENNINGS COUNTY at BNL
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Jennings County 5-7 (vs. Crothersville on Friday), 1-1 in HHC; BNL 5-7 (vs. Mitchell on Friday), 1-1 in HHC
Sagarin ratings: Jennings County 65.99; BNL 81.31
Last meeting: Last year at Jennings, the Stars roared to a 27-10 lead after the first quarter and stopped the Panthers 64-47. Brayton Bailey had 16 points and McCall Ray added 14 for BNL. Trevor Wilson scored 11 for JC.
Games notes: BNL has won six straight in the series.
Jennings County Panthers
F – Josh Pettit 6-4 Sr.
F – Lance Bailey 6-2 Sr.
G – Aaron Martin 6-1 Jr.
G – Kent Biehle 6-0 Sr.
G – Weston Miller 6-4 Sr.
Bedford NL Stars
F – Jathan Ritter 6-4 Sr.
C – Cale Bunch 6-3 Jr.
G – McCall Ray 6-1 Sr.
G – Brayton Bailey 6-2 Jr.
G – Trey Mollet 5-11 Jr.