By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Another year, like sands in the hour glass, has drained away, marking time relentlessly. For Bedford North Lawrence athletics, the 2018-19 school season marked another successful year on many fronts.
Here is the list of the top moments, each memorable or dramatic in scope, style and substance:
10. Unified football wins first state title – Bedford North Lawrence made history, winning the inaugural Unified Flag Football state championship whil conquering Ben Davis and Tippecanoe Valley in the IHSAA state finals at the Indianapolis Colts training complex.
BNL stopped Ben Davis 52-17 in the state semifinal, then swept past Tippecanoe Valley 50-26 in the state championship game. The Stars went 4-0 in the regular season, then roared through Mooresville (sectional) and Jasper (regional) before taking home the grand prize in the 25-team field.
9. Lane Hawkins finishes 9th in state high jump – Senior Lane Hawkins sailed over 6-foot-7 and finished ninth in the state in the high jump during the IHSAA finals at Indiana University. The top nine in each event are honored on the podium and awarded medals. Hawkins set the school record of 6-8 twice during the season. He signed to compete with Purdue Fort Wayne.
8. Ethan Stanley named All-State – Senior golfer Ethan Stanley scripted the appropriate ending to his high school golf career, earning All-State honors from the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association.
Stanley is the fifth player in program history to receive the ultimate recognition for his season-long performance. Stanley won two invitational tournaments, finished second in the sectional at Bloomington Country Club, third in the regional at Champions Pointe, and tied for 25th in the state championships at Prairie View.
Stanley joined an exclusive BNL list to earn All-State. The award was started in 1973, and the Stars to earn the distinction include David Gratzer (1994-95), Michael Tillett (2002), Aaron Harrell (2002) and Chase Wagner (2010).
7. Football wins thriller at New Albany – McCall Ray’s daring scramble as time expired capped a fantastic thriller as BNL rallied in breathless fashion for a 41-40 victory over Class 5A No.7 New Albany. The Stars rallied from a two-score deficit to stun the Dogs, and this one ruined Homecoming and ended New Albany’s best start since 1987.
Trey Speer’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown gave BNL life, two defensive stops in the red zone in the fourth quarter kept the Stars breathing, and Ray’s 64-yard drive in the final 1:10 was near-perfect execution of the hurry-up offense. Ray scored on a bootleg scramble on the final play.
6. BNL golfers qualify for state – After setting their preseason goal of a Top 10 finish in the IHSAA state championships, the No.13 Stars fulfilled their top-shelf prediction at Prairie View Golf Club, capping the 2018 campaign with a ninth-place conclusion in the 46th annual girls golf state finals. BNL carded a second-round 343 and concluded 36 holes with a team score of 694.
In addition, senior star Taylor Norman was named All-State by the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association, the first Star since Kennedy Holtsclaw in 2014 to be awarded that ultimate honor. She was one of 20 players across the state to earn that status. The two-time sectional medalist, who will play college golf for the University of Saint Francis, finished tied for 29th in the state finals.
5. BNL girls basketball wins sectional – Jorie Allen scored 17 points as BNL (22-5) crushed Jennings 56-34 in the Sectional 15 final at New Albany. Madison Webb and Chloe McKnight added 13 apiece as BNL won its eighth consecutive sectional title and advanced to the regional at BNL.
The Stars advanced to the regional final. Castle, unfazed by an early double-digit deficit, scrambled back to win its first Class 4A regional championship in 13 years, digging out an intense 54-48 victory. BNL finished with a 23-6 record.
4. McCall Ray to walk on at Indiana – Senior quarterback McCall Ray, BNL’s All-State offensive catalyst, accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Indiana University. He will switch from the backfield to a slot receiver position with the Hoosiers.
Ray threw for 2,023 yards and 25 touchdowns as the Stars went 8-3 in 2018. Ray added 738 rushing yards and 13 TDs to solidly his standing as an all-around athlete. He was named Class 5A Senior All-State by the Indiana Football Coaches Association.
3. Matt Seifers resigns – Matt Seifers, who guided Bedford North Lawrence for three seasons, resigned as the head coach of the Stars.
Seifers posted a 36-35 overall record at BNL. He went 9-16 in 2016-17, then rebounded with winning seasons the last two years, going 14-9 and 13-10. The Stars went 0-3 in three postseason games, falling to eventual sectional champion Jeffersonville 75-54 to end the 2018-19 campaign.
2. Jeff Hein named new coach – BNL entered a new era with the hiring of former Vincennes Lincoln boss Jeff Hein as the new boys basketball coach.
Hein, who guided Evansville Bosse to the Class 3A state finals in 2007, was approved for a two-year contract by a 7-0 vote from the North Lawrence Community Schools board.
Hein, a 22-year coaching veteran, became the ninth coach in BNL program history, following in the footsteps of Bob Masterson (1974-76), Mike Sorrell (1976-1981), Dan Bush (1981-1993), Mark Mathews (1993-1996), Mark Ryan (1996-2005), Damon Bailey (2005-2007), Jamie Hudson (2007-2016) and Seifers (2016-19).
Hein has enjoyed success, posting a 295-206 career record. He has won four sectional titles, two regional crowns and a semistate championship during his career.
1: Jorie Allen named Miss Basketball – BNL senior Jorie Allen joined elite company when she was named the 44th winner of the Miss Basketball award. She stepped alongside Marla (Inman) Eltrevoog, who won the title in 1992, as the second in BNL history, and she donned the coveted No.1 jersey for the Indiana All-Stars during their June series with Kentucky.
As a senior, she averaged 18.1 points and 8.0 rebounds while leading the Stars to a 23-6 record and an eighth consecutive sectional championship. Allen, an Indiana University recruit, totaled 1,930 career points to break that school record.
In the All-Star series, after Indiana suffered a loss to Kentucky in the opening game, Allen rescued the Hoosiers with six consecutive points in overtime as Indiana rallied for a 76-71 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Allen scored 18 points.
Honorable mention: Baseball’s 13-inning, 4-hour marathon win over Rockford; Swimming’s Andrew Swenson finished 9th in state in backstroke; Boys soccer reaches sectional final.
Drew Shoufler was named male Athlete of the Year, and Jorie Allen was named female Athlete of the Year.