By Justin Sokeland
BLOOMINGTON – After two high-stress, heart-pounding victories, Bedford North Lawrence’s postseason heartbeat skipped and finally stopped.
Bloomington South’s attack, relentless and devastating, was more than the Stars could bear as the Panthers blasted to a 7-0 triumph in the Class 3A sectional championship on Saturday night. South, 11-2-1, won its seventh consecutive sectional trophy and extended its unbeaten streak to 10 straight matches.
BNL (7-7-1) had no answers for the constant pressure. Carson Adams recorded a hat trick and added an assist as South posted a lopsided 27-3 advantage in shots. And it felt like more than that. BNL goalie Evan Payne needed a flak jacket in front of the net.
South took control with two goals in a 59-second span early in the first half, and BNL’s confidence cratered quickly.
“We ran out of some steam when we ran into a team that’s a lot better than us,” BNL coach Logan Jackson said. “I think that showed, and that’s OK. Sometimes there are just better teams out there. It’s not fun to lose 7-0, but that’s part of it. We have a lot to look back on that’s positive.”
South posted a 5-0 win during the regular-season clash at BNL on Sept. 20. The Stars probably needed a perfect game to pull off a stunning upset, but that thought was erased when Adams poked home an easy touch goal off Robert Wilson’s pass at 32:31. Grant Yeagley ripped one home a minute later, and the Stars were in trouble.
“We wanted to keep them from getting on the board quick, and obviously that didn’t go quite like we wanted,” Jackson said. “A good team like that, it’s hard to do anything, especially when we’re not technical enough.
“It’s tough to come back after that. You’re limited to what you can do. You want to stop the bleeding but still get on the board. It’s hard.”
South added on from there. Gabe Lika slammed home a goal off an Adams pass at 24:36, Adams got his second with an assist from Alex Fox at 2:32, and Fox got his own with 39 seconds left in the half.
“Even though we beat them in the regular season, we can’t come into this thinking it’s already won,” Adams said of the fast start. “Give it everything we’ve got, all the way to the end.”
Adams posted his third at 33:35 in the second half, and Yeagley converted a penalty kick with 30:53 left to cap the scoring.
South continued its second dynasty while denying BNL’s its first title. The Stars got to the final with a sudden-death shootout win over Terre Haute South and a thrilling 2-1 victory over Bloomington North. But the defending champions were too tough.
“It’s just tradition,” Adams said. “We like to keep it going, to keep winning.”
South advanced to the two-game regional on Oct. 13 at Seymour and will face Floyd Central in the second game. Castle will meet Roncalli in the opener at 10 a.m. The final is set for 7 p.m.