By KEVIN HARRIS
Trailing 17 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Jeffersonville girls’ basketball team made things interesting in the final stanza against Class 4A No. 5 Bedford North Lawrence on Saturday night at Johnson Arena.
The Red Devils cut their deficit to five midway through the fourth. But sophomore center Jenna Allen and the Stars put a stop to Jeff’s comeback bid in the final minutes and the Stars prevailed 62-46. It was the Hoosier Hills Conference opener for both teams.
Even though his team suffered its first loss of the 2012-13 campaign, Jeff coach Matt Pait lauded his team’s effort, especially in the fourth.
“Our girls kept fighting and I’m proud of them,” Pait said. “It was our [full-court] pressure and taking the fight to them that got us back in it. I give the girls credit — they kept competing.”
Bedford’s lead grew to as high as 21 points late in the third when Allen scored two of her game-high 27 points. But after the Red Devils (2-1) poured in the final four points of the third to pull within 45-28, they went on a 14-2 run to trim their deficit to 47-42 with 3:42 remaining in regulation. The final bucket of the spurt came from junior forward Haley Vogen, as she made a bucket while being guarded by Allen.
The Stars responded by going right to Allen. The 6-foot-3 post player converted a three-point play to put Bedford up 50-42. Guard Sammy Dillman followed that up with a layup to return the Stars’ advantage to double digits.
After Vogen knocked down two free throws to pull Jeff back within eight, Allen got a basket off a Dillman assist to give Bedford a 54-44 lead. The Stars sealed the victory by converting eight free throws in the final 1 minute and 48 seconds.
“We are not happy about that,” Bedford coach Kurt Godlevske said about the Stars allowing Jeff to get back into the game. “But the good thing is we knew what to do with the ball after [the Red Devils’ rally].”
Allen ended up shooting 12-of-14 from the field and 3-of-4 from the stripe. She was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in the first half, helping her score 14 points before halftime. Allen also had a game-high eight rebounds.
“She’s a big girl and she’s hard to get around,” Pait said. “We’ve struggled guarding post players, and we’ve got to try to do a better job with that.”
Two other Stars scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Alexa Bailey — the daughter of former BNL and Indiana University star Damon Bailey — tallied 14 points, making all eight of her free-throw attempts and shooting 3-of-4 from the floor. Sophomore forward Dominique McBryde had 13 points.
Bedford (3-0) wound up shooting 24-of-35 from the field (69 percent) and 14-of-15 from the line (93 percent). The Stars outrebounded the Red Devils, 21-15.
Sophomore forward Emily Gray was the only Jeff player in double figures with 13 points, hitting 6-of-10 field goals. Teammate Nichole Midgett nailed three 3-pointers to score nine points. Vogen and Red Devil guard Aurreeshae Hines each scored eight points.
Pait was happy to play a formidable opponent early in the season, so his players have a good idea what things they need to work on as the season progresses.
“I think it was a good test for us,” Pait said. “I thought we played decent, but it was not our best effort. Hopefully, we’ll learn from our mistakes. We’ve got to do a better job with our half-court defense, and we’ve got to get better at the fundamentals.”
Jeff will travel to Jennings County on Friday.
BEDFORD NL 62, JEFFERSONVILLE 46
Bedford NL 15 17 13 17—62
Jeff 10 10 8 18—46
Bedford North Lawrence (3-0, 1-0 HHC): Jenna Allen 12-14 3-4 27, Alexa Bailey 3-4 8-8 14, Dominique McBryde 6-7 1-1 13, Sammy Dillman 3-5 0-0 6, Brittani Rizzi 0-3 2-2 2, Lauren Boshears 0-1 0-0 0, Whitney Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Sabrina Yeary 0-0 0-0 0, Carli Fields 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-35 14-15 62.
Jeff (2-1, 0-1): Emily Gray 6-10 1-2 13, Nichole Midgett 3-4 0-0 9, Aurreeshae Hines 2-11 4-4 8, Haley Vogen 2-6 4-5 8, Taylor Davis 1-2 0-0 3, Taylor Hines 1-3 0-0 3, Chelsea Lewis 0-0 2-2 2, Nycia Ford 0-0 0-0 0, Hailey Lacy 0-0 0-0 0, Chelsie Marshall 0-0 0-0 0, Danielle Overton 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Sykes 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 15-39 11-13 46.
3-point field goals: Bedford 0-4 (Dillman 0-1, Rizzi 0-3); Jeff 5-10 (Midgett 3-3, Davis 1-1, T. Hines 1-2, A. Hines 0-2, Sykes 0-2).
Rebounds: Bedford 21 (Allen 8); Jeff 15 (Gray, T. Hines 3).
Turnovers: Bedford 16, Jeff 14.
Total fouls: Bedford 17, Jeff 16.
Fouled out: none.
Junior varsity: Bedford 36, Jeff 22.