News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 25, 2014

Terre Haute North plays well but doesn't finish at Bedford North Lawrence

Stars score final six points to take the victory

BEDFORD — Visiting Terre Haute North did everything but win a nonconference high school basketball game Tuesday at Bedford North Lawrence.

The Patriots shot better, dominated the boards and reversed the game’s momentum with a second-half defensive adjustment, but only once got the lead above a one-possession one. That cost North in the end, when the Stars scored the last six points to win 42-38.

“In the second half, we got good play from our bench and had a good defensive effort,” coach Todd Woelfle said afterward. “We were in good position. We just didn’t execute the way we would’ve liked.”

The Patriots were five points behind at 23-18 early in the third quarter when they went to a 1-3-1 trapping defense to try to get the Stars out of their ultradeliberate offensive pace.

It worked for an 8-0 run as Keshaun Sandifer, Kobi Riley, Braxton Poore and Charlie Aimone all got baskets and North had a 32-28 lead when Mitchell Dennany opened the fourth quarter with a long 2-pointer.

Bedford tied the game twice, but Poore drove for a three-point play near the midpoint of the fourth quarter for a 37-34 lead. C.J. Brown hit a free throw near the two-minute mark that kept North ahead 38-36.

But Bedford forward Blaze Byrer got his third basket of the quarter to tie the game with 2:08 left and the Patriots got deliberate themselves.

Then came the plays that determined the game.

Poore got free and drove the lane, sinking a floater with 1:28 left, but was whistled for an offensive foul — his fifth — that wiped out the score. Trey Turner lobbed a pass over the zone that had been working so well for the Patriots and Byrer converted it to a layup with 59 seconds to go. Then North turned the ball over.

North had just three second-half fouls to that point, and quickly committed two more. Dennany then stole the ball and got it to Aimone, who missed a layup under pressure — it was the second time in the quarter that Patriot fans felt he had been fouled on a drive to the basket — and Morgan Cummings’ rebound and two free throws with 4.2 seconds left sealed the outcome.

“Give Bedford North Lawrence the credit. They made plays at the end of the game and we didn’t,” said Woelfle.

Turner’s pass to Byrer for the tiebreaking score “was a huge play,” coach Jamie Hudson of the Stars said. “Turner made the right play at the right time.”

“Byrer [with a game-high 19 points, eight in the fourth quarter] really hurt us,” Woelfle noted. “Other than that we held [the Stars’] other good players in check. We just weren’t able to do enough at the offensive end.”

North’s lone statistical problem Tuesday was turnovers, and the Patriots had four of them after early inside baskets by Sandifer and Riley had wiped out a game-opening 3-pointer by the Stars.

BNL took advantage of North’s generosity to take a 10-5 lead and were protecting it by rarely shooting, scoring five straight points in the second quarter for a 19-13 lead that was the game’s biggest. Poore drove for a three-point play to keep North within three points at halftime.

Poore wound up as North’s leading scorer with 12 points and Riley had 10.

“Braxton Poore was effective,” Woelfle said after the game, “and guys off the bench gave us good energy in the third quarter — A.J. Smith, Brian Stevens and Mitchell Dennany.”

“Defensively, I thought we did a good job on Aimone and Sandifer,” Hudson said. “They had just nine points between them. That was great team defense on our part.”

“[The Stars] stayed attached to Charlie and didn’t give him any open looks,” Woelfle agreed.

Bedford’s other top player Tuesday was Cummings, with eight points and four assists. He’s the son of one of his former Oakland City College teammates, Woelfle pointed out.

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