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Stars soar, score to jolt Jackets in rivalry royale

BNL extends series streak

with 80-50 win over Mitchell

BNL’s Brayton Bailey attacks the rim. Bailey had 18 points as the Stars stopped Mitchell 80-50 on Friday night.

By Justin Sokeland

BEDFORD – Frenetic, fast and too furious. Bedford North Lawrence coach Matt Seifers admitted he miscalculated the hype, the tension, the clinched-teeth intensity of the county rivalry. And he’s been on both sides.

Once the Stars calmed down, once they fixed some glaring issues, once the shots started falling, order was restored. The Stars, for the 33rd consecutive time, conquered Mitchell, rushing to an 80-50 victory on Friday night in BNL Fieldhouse.

McCall Ray tallied 20 points, leading BNL’s high-scoring backcourt trio, as the Stars scored and roared, slashing their way to a season-high offensive total and hitting the 80 mark for the first time since Mitchell’s last visit.

But this was not a typical blowout. The Bluejackets, setting a fierce tempo and taking their best shots, scrambled within 31-28 late in the first half. They did that with leading scorer Peyton Moore in foul trouble, with starter Thomas Symcox sidelined with a bloody head and a hand injury. They were fearless.

Was that pace sustainable? Not when BNL (6-7) quit kicking the ball all over Damon Bailey Court, not when Jathan Ritter (who went cold and a little shot-shy in the first half) didn’t miss a jumper, not when Ray answered his coach’s call for more points – and fewer turnovers.

Ritter and Brayton Bailey both added 18 points. BNL hit 16 of 25 shots in the second half, the last one a Brandon Flinn dunk – to the delight and amazement of the student section under that basket – for the punctuation mark.

Credit to the Stars for avoiding panic. Nobody wants to be a part of the team to end The Streak. Mitchell’s only win in the series came in 1986, but the jittery first half was causing some concern.

BNL’s McCall Ray rises for a jumper. Ray had 20 points as the Stars beat Mitchell for the 33rd straight time.

“I think the energy and the hype, I think I absolutely didn’t take it for what it’s worth,” Seifers said. “They were jumping around, making mistakes and Mitchell played really well.

“The tempers were a little bit higher in the locker room, but the kids didn’t freak out. The look in their eyes was ‘We missed it up, let’s go fix it.’ And you saw that in the second half. It was a wonderful turnaround. It was almost better than how bad we played in the first half.”

When Moore, averaging a smooth 21 points per game, was whistled for his fourth foul with 7:00 left in the third quarter, with the margin still within easy range at 38-31, that signaled the beginning of the end. From that point, the Stars streaked away.

Ritter swished two 3-pointers, Trey Mollet added another, and Ray knocked down one as the Stars surged to a 54-39 advantage. When the Stars started the fourth quarter with a 16-2 burst, highlighted by two Lane Hawkins layups, the Bluejackets were done.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half,” Mitchell coach Doug Thomas said. “Bedford is tough to hang with. We did, with Peyton in foul trouble, with Bear (Jarrett Phillips by his given name) in foul trouble, with Symcox going out, against everything they could throw at us.

“They got away from us at the end, but I was happy with a lot of guys and the effort they put out. They didn’t back down a second.”

BNL’s Trey Mollet, making his second straight start, had 10 points.

Ritter was 5-for-5 after intermission, Ray had 14 in the second half, and Bailey kept the Stars in front with 14 in the first two periods.

“McCall needs to score more points for us,” Seifers said. “Those three, that’s really good for us. I’d like to score 75-80 a game. But we have to figure out if we can go that fast and still play defense.”

Phillips was a bear, totaling 18 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Bell came off the bench to add 15 points. Mitchell earned some respect with its tenacity. Foul trouble and fatigue finally took a toll.

“We play that hard every game,” Thomas said. “All the time. This was not a one-night thing. This was not showing up to battle a team we want to beat. They did it every night. They do it every game.”

BNL’s Lane Hawkins drops a pass toward a teammate. Hawkins had 9 points.

Believe it or not, the Stars felt pressure. It builds when a streak goes this long. They hear the whispers inside the school walls, out in the community. They shared text messages with their friends on the other side, exchanging some friendly-fire trash talk, then had to back it up.

“This rivalry means a lot to everyone at the school,” Ray said. “It’s a streak that’s been going on forever. We like to come into he game confident, but not cocky. We respect Mitchell.”

“It’s a great feeling,” said Mollet, who started his second straight game as Drew Shoufler recovers from an ankle injury, and he added 10 points. “We’ve know each other our whole lives.

“They thought they could beat us. We didn’t play our best game in the first half, and they came out with a chip on their shoulders to end the streak.”

Mitchell (6-5) will return to action at West Washington on Jan. 18.

BNL will battle Jennings County on Tuesday. That game was postponed for three days because of Saturday’s predicted snowstorm.

Brayton Bailey had 14 points in the first half to keep BNL in front.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

31 Jarrett Phillips, f 1-6 8-20 1-2 11 3 18

22 Thomas Symcox, f 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

20 Peyton Moore, g 1-4 3-9 0-0 4 5 7

11 Tyson James, g 0-3 1-6 0-0 4 4 2

2 Drew Simpson, g 0-2 0-3 0-0 1 2 0

5 Michael Bell 1-7 5-15 4-4 3 0 15

25 Luke LeFevor 1-2 1-2 3-6 7 3 6

24 Leyton Allen 0-2 0-3 0-0 3 2 0

14 Alec Barlow 0-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 2

10 Caeden Jackson 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

4 Nate Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

23 Nick Mundy 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

21 Trevin Lee 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 4-27 19-59 8-12 33 20 50


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

24 Jathan Ritter, f 4-9 6-14 2-3 8 1 18

15 Cale Bunch, c 0-0 0-1 0-0 7 0 0

12 McCall Ray, g 4-9 7-15 2-7 3 2 20

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-0 7-13 4-8 8 2 18

30 Trey Mollet, g 2-5 4-11 0-0 7 1 10

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

41 Lane Hawkins 0-0 3-4 3-4 3 1 9

5 Brandon Flinn 0-0 1-1 0-0 1 2 2

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

1 Kooper Staley 0-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 2

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

20 Jackson Miracle 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

11 Konley Woodward 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 10-24 29-60 12-24 45 12 80

Mitchell 14 14 13 9 – 50

Bedford NL 21 15 18 26 – 80

Turnovers – Mitchell 15, BNL 17

Field goal percentage – Mitchell 19-59 (.322); BNL 29-60 (.483)

Free throw percentage – Mitchell 8-12 (.667); BNL 12-24 (.500)