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Stars streak to victory over Pirates

CHARLESTOWN – BNL’s Jathan Ritter glides to the basket for a layup. Ritter had 18 points as the Stars stopped Charlestown 69-41 on Saturday night.

By Justin Sokeland

bnlathletics.com

CHARLESTOWN – They ran, they ran so far away from Charlestown’s wingless flock of seagulls. In transition, at full speed, Bedford North Lawrence took flight and soared.

After slogging through the early minutes, a little bit hungover from the exhilarating victory just 24 hours earlier, the Stars shifted into overdrive and stormed away from Charlestown 69-41 on Saturday night. Jathan Ritter scored 18 points as BNL (10-7) cruised to its sixth consecutive win.

Even with scoring leader and team tempo-setter Brayton Bailey on the bench for 11 minutes of the first half, burdened with three fouls, the Stars had too much firepower. They opened the second quarter with a 17-2 blast, and the Pirates didn’t have the weapons to fight back. Hard to beat cannons with swords.


The beauty of the offensive eruption was its defensive foundation. Trey Mollet and Drew Shoufler converted steals into layup, Ritter swiped a ball at midcourt and swooped home for another, and Mollet buried a pull-up trey off another theft during the decisive breakaway.

“With Brayton sitting on the bench, it was McCall Ray and his intelligence and ability, as a senior, to run the team and do what we want,” BNL coach Matt Seifers said. “Jathan and Shoufler. That’s huge when you have someone like Brayton go to the bench.

“A lot of teams out there, when that happens, you’re in trouble-trouble. We’re getting to the point where we can work through it.”

CHARLESTOWN – BNL’s Brayton Bailey, who sat for 11 minutes of the first half with three fouls, finished with 16 points.

Ritter had 13 points in the first half as BNL escaped from 13-12 tension to 35-22 comfort at intermission. Bailey returned from his sideline exile and had 14 of his 16 points in the second half. Ray also added 16 as BNL’s triple-threat trio did the expected damage.

Bailey scored four times from point-blank range and Ray stroked two bombs. The Pirates were caught in between, unable to stop either and unequipped to score quickly or in bunches. Charlestown averages only 48 points per game and finds offense in rare spurts.

“We are undersized and we’re not very fast,” Charlestown coach Jason Connell, a Mitchell native, said. “That’s a bad combination. We knew the transition game would be tough.

“Overall, I thought we competed. We didn’t quit, and we really needed to see that. With our kids, they’re trying their best.”

BNL, as expected, remained perfect in the Charlestown series. Granted, that’s three games. Granted, the Pirates were more of a challenge than a year ago, when the gap with 51 points. Connell took some solace in that fact.

“That,” he said, “was 10 times worse.”

“We kind of got away from them,” Seifers said. “That’s a team that has to hang with you, in order to have a chance to nip at you a little bit. Once we created the separation, we were fine.”

CHARLESTOWN – Jathan Ritter attacks the basket after taking the ball away from Charlestown’s Courtland Black.

Courtland Black had 13 points for Charlestown (8-8 after only 3 wins last season). The Pirates, with limited options, needed to play a long possession game and hit judicious shots. BNL’s ramped-up defensive pressure didn’t allow that.

“We need to value the basketball,” said Connell, whose club had 14 turnovers, half the BNL total. “If we had the ball, they couldn’t score. Some of our kids aren’t understanding that. It’s hard.”

BNL’s six-game surge matches its longest winning streak since the 2015-16 season.

“That’s big,” Seifers said. “I’ll take seven if anyone wants to give me that. You talk about a tough game to come play after last night (the 67-61 win over Jeffersonville). The kids are playing great.”

Extending that to seven will take continued excellence. The Stars will visit No.5 Floyd Central (13-2 after a road win over Evansville Reitz) in a key HHC battle on Thursday.

CHARLESTOWN – BNL’s McCall Ray had 16 points as the Stars won their sixth straight game.

BEDFORD NL STARS (69)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

24 Jathan Ritter, f 4-7 7-13 0-0 6 0 18

15 Cale Bunch, c 0-0 2-3 0-0 5 0 4

12 McCall Ray, g 3-8 5-12 3-4 4 3 16

22 Brayton Bailey, g 0-1 8-12 0-0 5 4 16

5 Brandon Flinn, g 0-0 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

25 Drew Shoufler 0-0 1-4 2-2 1 4 4

41 Lane Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

30 Trey Mollet 1-2 2-4 0-0 2 2 5

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

21 Zach Sasser 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0

1 Kooper Staley 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 3

31 Ben Cosner 0-0 1-1 1-1 0 1 3

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

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

14 Josh Blunk 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Totals 9-19 27-52 6-7 29 15 69

CHARLESTOWN PIRATES (41)

3s FGs FTs R F Pts

14 Caleb Brown, f 1-4 2-7 2-2 5 0 7

24 Bo Braunecker, f 1-2 4-7 0-0 4 0 9

3 Courtland Black, g 3-5 5-12 0-0 3 1 13

10 Matt Parrella, g 0-2 0-4 2-2 3 3 2

32 Drew Fifer, g 0-0 1-3 4-7 5 3 6

1 Ashton Davis 0-1 1-2 2-4 0 0 4

30 Devron West 0-0 0-1 0-0 1 1 0

Totals 5-14 13-36 10-15 21 8 41

Bedford NL 13 22 12 22 – 69

Charlestown 12 10 7 12 – 41

Turnovers – BNL 7, Charlestown 14

Field goal percentage – BNL 27-52 (.519), Charlestown 13-36 (.361)

Free throw percentage – BNL 6-7 (.857), Charlestown 10-15 (.667)