Bedford North Lawrence’s dream of winning a sixth consecutive sectional title lives on in Floyds Knobs.
The No. 9-ranked Stars defeated U.S. 50 and Hoosier Hills Conference rival Seymour 56-42 in the first round of Sectional 15 at Floyd Central High School on Tuesday.
With the loss, the Owls finished 15-9 for the 2016-17 season.
A basket by Kayla Griffin gave the Owls a 2-0 lead for the first 1:37 of the game before Bedford scored 10 unanswered points behind a pair of 3-pointers by Kennedy Bunch by the 3:29 mark.
The Owls closed the quarter with free throws by Sarah Benefiel and a basket by Lauren James, but Seymour trailed 13-8 after eight minutes.
Seymour constructed a 7-0 scoring string, capped by an and-one conversion by Makenna Fee, to tie the game at 17 with 3:35 left in the first half.
However, the Stars would answer the Owls’ offense.
Bedford 6-foot-1 forward Jorie Allen went to work in the second quarter, scoring 11 of the Stars’ 13 points, including a self-made 7-2 run, to put the team up 26-11 at the half.
Turnovers played little factor in the first 16 minutes — and the game in its entirety — with the Owls giving the ball away four times to the Stars’ three.
Out of the break, the Stars went on a 7-0 run to build their advantage to 33-21 with 5:25 on the clock.
The Owls answered with a 9-2 run, in part of a layup and a 3 from Benefiel, and trailed 35-30 five minutes into the third quarter.
BNL outscored the Owls 6-2 in the final 2:44 of the third quarter to lead 41-32.
“I thought there was a stretch in the third quarter where we got a really good look, but it didn’t go in,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “I think we executed offensively, just the ball didn’t drop the way we wanted it to. We were never really able to close the gap. The tough thing against a good team like Bedford is once you’re down eight or nine points at the end of the game, it’s like being down 15 because of the way they handle the ball.”
The Stars opened the fourth quarter on a 7-5 run and held the Owls scoreless while making all six of their free throws with 28 seconds left to lead 51-37.
BNL held onto the ball for long possessions down the final stretch to secure the win.
The Stars won the rebounding battle 36-28 and the turnover deficit 7-6.
Allen led all scorers with 25 points, and Bunch had 18 for Bedford.
Fee, Benefiel and James each totaled 10 points for the Owls.
Hannah Thompson, Katie Suits, James, Griffin and Benefiel all graduate from the Owls’ program.
“It’s always tough to lose a senior group,” Longmeier said. “In the last four years, I’ve spent more time with those kids than my own kids. I think we have a great family atmosphere (at Seymour) where the kids and coaches really care about each other. It’s going to be tough to see them leave, but I think what they left behind gives us something to build off of.”