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Stars put squeeze on JC

BNL’s Chloe McKnight drives against Jennings County’s Madi Skinner. McKnight scored 15 points as the No.7 Stars conquered the Panthers 62-45 on Tuesday night.

By Justin Sokeland

bnlathletics.com

BEDFORD – Bedford North Lawrence put the squeeze play on.

Slowly, inexorably, relentlessly, the No.7 Stars applied pressure until Jennings County cracked. As the turnovers increased, so did BNL’s second-half lead, and it’s simple how that correlates.

BNL’s swarming defense forced 20 turnovers, including 8 in the fourth quarter as the Stars blasted away to a 62-45 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday night. Jorie Allen scored 19 points and Chloe McKnight totaled 15, but the misfiring offense was not the story. Ball security told the tale.

While Jennings struggled to protect possessions, the Stars had only 5 errors. That’s the reason BNL (7-1, 2-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference) punished the Panthers for the 16th straight time in the series. The final blow was BNL’s 11-2 burst in the fourth quarter.

“Our pressure, over the course of the game, bothered them,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “I thought we could keep the pressure up, and that’s where the bench play is making us deeper.

”Our kids played really hard. Teams like that, if you don’t make shots, it becomes a grind. But our pressure loosened it up.”

BNL did not convert on the offensive end at its normal precision (20 of 50 shooting), although McKnight was the exception. The sophomore stroked three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter to keep the Panthers at arm’s length. Jennings was still sticky, refusing to fall away until the closing spurt.

BNL owned a 46-35 lead when it finally lumbered to a more comfortable margin. Irye Gomez started it with a trey, then Jacy Hughes and Allen exchanged assists and layups off transition turnovers. Gomez broke free for another layup and Allen capped a steal with a breakaway. McKnight finished the run and inked BNL’s biggest lead (59-37) with two free throws.

”We made a couple of turnovers, and we started thinking too much,” Jennings coach Kristi Sigler said. “We tend to overthink because we’re perfectionists. When we lose focus, things can happen quickly. By that time, you’re in a three-possession game that turns into a game that looks like it wasn’t even close.”

BNL’s Jorie Allen attracts a crowd in the paint. Allen scored 19 points.

At first, sophomore Addyson Kent kept the Panthers close. She hit four first-half treys and scored all of her 13 points as Jennings scrambled within 32-23 at intermission. Once she was silenced, Jennings made little noise.

”They didn’t give her room to breathe,” Sigler said.

“After you give up enough of them, you try to figure it out,” Allen said. “Maybe we better take that away. We just had kids that weren’t communicating, and that was my pet peeve at halftime. Kids were getting screened and nobody was talking. That gets me riled up.”

Allen finished with a team-high 19 points but needed 18 shots to get that total, a rare inefficient performance. She had 7 rebounds.

“We shot the ball extremely poorly,” Allen (the coach) said. “Sometimes you have games like that.”

McKnight and Hughes (10 points with a pair of treys) were the ones that got free. “We lost the shooters,” Sigler said.

Callie Wilder, one of the Allen challengers in the paint, led Jennings (3-4, 0-2) with 14 points.

BNL’s bench played a key role. Allie Fugate scored 7, Gomez added 5, and Jenna Louden was one of the main antagonists applying the full-court pressure.

”We work together and play as a team,” McKnight said.

BNL will host New Albany on Saturday afternoon.

BNL’s Gracie Crulo-Rood faces defensive pressure. The Stars were guilty of only 5 turnovers.

JENNINGS COUNTY PANTHERS (45)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

33 Lily Ernstes, f 0-0 0-0 1-2 3 2 1

23 Callie Wilder, c 0-0 3-7 8-8 6 4 14

13 Kylee Matern, g 1-3 3-8 0-2 3 4 7

5 Addyson Kent, g 4-7 4-8 1-1 5 2 13

2 Madi Skinner, g 1-2 3-6 0-0 1 1 7

10 Alana Daeger 0-0 1-1 1-2 0 0 3

31 Kenna Maschino 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 0

11 Brooke Mowery 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-13 14-31 11-15 24 14 45

 

BEDFORD NL STARS (62)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

33 Jorie Allen, f 0-1 6-18 7-8 7 2 19

32 Madison Webb, c 0-0 1-3 0-0 2 2 2

11 Chloe McKnight, g 3-5 4-6 4-4 3 3 15

12 Jacy Hughes, g 2-3 3-7 2-2 4 1 10

24 Gracie Crulo-Rood, g 0-3 0-3 1-2 1 2 1

22 Allie Fugate 1-3 3-5 0-0 1 1 7

30 Katie Fisher 1-1 1-1 0-0 1 0 3

2 Irye Gomez 1-2 2-4 0-0 1 1 5

3 Sylvia Woods 0-1 0-1 0-0 1 0 0

21 Abby Riley 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 8-21 20-50 14-17 25 14 62

 

Jennings County 12 11 9 13 – 45

Bedford NL 20 13 10 19 – 62

Turnovers – Jennings County 20, BNL 5

Field goal percentage – Jennings County 14-31 (.452); BNL 20-50 (.400)

Free throw percentage – Jennings County 11-15 (.733); BNL 14-17 (.826)