Bedford North Lawrence came out hot in the first quarter, nailing 3 three pointers to start the game. The Stars took an early 9-4 lead over Jennings County. The Panthers clawed back, regardless of a few errant shots and eventually tied it back up at 13 to end the quarter.
BNL’s Godlevske had a hot start scoring 8 points midway through the second quarter. He hit two threes in the first quarter. Colten Leach was also hot for the Stars, coming up with some flashy plays. Followed by Colton Staggs nailing a couple threes himself, the Stars jumped to another big lead at 20-13 with 5 minutes left in the half.
Jennings County was having trouble getting shots to fall. They were shooting quick, most were open, but they looked rushed. They were trying to keep up with BNL’s onslaught. The Stars were hot, and JC was doing everything to keep up midway through the second.
Parker Elmore, a Freshman for Jennings County, checked in and made a couple good moves down low. He was the only offense through the beginning of the second quarter for the Panthers.
As the minutes ticked down to the half, Jennings County was able to claw back in. Sophomore Carter Kent found his stroke, after going cold in the first quarter, putting the Panthers within one at 23-22.
After a couple of awesome plays from BNL’s Staggs and the Panther’s Manowitz, it was back within one. BNL had the ball to end the half with a missed driving layup. The score at the half was BNL 25 to JC’s 24. It was a close game at this point, with a lot of shots being taken. Who knew which way it would go.
The Panthers started the half with some foul trouble, picking up 4 quick fouls by the 5 minute mark of the third quarter. It was mostly fouls and missed shots for JC in the third while, Leach led the way for the Stars, scoring 18 points by the end.
The score was 40 to 32 at the end of the third with the Stars starting to pull away. The Panthers struggled to make shots, and fouls plagued them in a slow start out of the half. But they were still close, and a comeback was possible.
Jennings County turned the pressure up in the fourth, but the Stars played smart basketball. Slowing the game down and taking smart shots, where the Panthers were still rushing quick threes after the first pass. The luck was not on their side at this point.
The Panthers started to climb back in around the 4 minute mark, but JC’s Law fouling out after a during a jump ball scramble. The score was 45 to 37 with BNL still on top. The Stars haven’t taken many shots, as they were concentrated on “keep away”.
Fouls kept plaguing the Panthers and the crowd was not happy with some of the calls. The fouls led to double bonus and a few free throws for BNL. Several were offensive foul calls, as the Panthers were wild with their control.
It was a 3 possession game at the 2:36 minute mark, 49 to 40 with BNL still up. Staggs would put BNL up 3 with another couple free throw opportunities. Staggs had 8 points with 2 minutes left in the game.
JC’s Kent nails a couple quick three pointers with 1:32 to go in the game, closing into the BNL’s lead 52-49. BNL missed both free throws in the next possession and Kent hits another three, making it a one point game. 22-21.
With a minute and fifteen on the clock, BNL was on the line again. This time they hit both of shots, giving the stars a 3 point lead. JC’s Manowitz responds with another 3, tying the game up with 52 seconds left. It was getting crazy at this point.
BNL’s Leach was then fouled on a call the fans didn’t like. He missed one free throw but got the other, he had 21 points, giving BNL a one point lead. JC’s Kent missed the layup on the next possession, leading to another foul for BNL with Staggs shooting free throws. BNL was up 3 with 23 seconds to go in the game.
The Panthers were cold to start the game on three pointers, but in the fourth they scored 5 up until the 23 second mark. Colton Leach slowed down his scoring in the fourth as BNL concentrated on the keep away game early on. Fouls were the only way BNL were getting points later.
Jennings County’s Manowitz was fouled on a three-point shot with 8 seconds left. Manowitz swished all three shots to tie up the game at 57. A key moment to the game, with Manowitz showing great wisdom when to get the shot off.
BNL’s Leach tried to make something happen on the next play, but loses the ball and the game went into overtime tied up at 57.
Jennings County slowed down the game again to start overtime, running off several minutes on the first possession. The Panthers missed their 3 point opportunity, but BNL is called for a push on the rebound, which gave a one and one opportunity to the Panthers. Darius Thomas missed the first shot but BNL airballs on their first attempt of overtime.
Jennings County stretched it out again on the next possession, a different look then the quick play that was working for them earlier. It leads to a BNL steal by Leach, who has been BNL’s MVP of the night.
Rainey got his fourth block on the night for the Panthers, after the steal. He was solid all night on defense, a big figure downlow for the Panthers.
The score was still tied at 57 with 18.5 seconds left in OT. Jennings County had the ball to end the first OT, but Kent missed a jumper near the baseline. No points were scored in the first overtime.
BNL’s Leach stole the opening tip to get the first bucket of the second OT. JC misses on their next try and got a foul called, sending Leach back to the line. He hit both and had 25 points after the trip. The Panthers lose the ball on their next possession, and BNL is fouled again. BNL goes up 5 62-57 with 3 minutes to go.
Both teams turned the tempo up, but they turned it over again, which led to another Leach bucket. JC just couldn’t find their shot their next couple tries, and a lose ball foul led to another BNL chance at the free throw stripe. After one free throw, it was an 8 point game, 65-57.
And it was another missed three from JC and BNL back to free throws. They missed one, and the game was starting to slip away at the 2 minute mark.
JC’s Mannowitz comes up huge, hitting a big three, putting the Panthers within 5 with 1:36 left, but another foul is quickly called on the Panthers. The free throws are followed by 4 quick Panther points that put them within 3 with 1:10 to go. 69-66. More free throws were to follow though. A lot of free throws this game.
The Panthers respond with a quick drive to the basket, and a foul called, but they were not able to convert. BNL turned the ball over after the rebound, then traveled the rebound after that. Jennings County got multiple opportunities to shoot with 43 seconds to go, but still couldn’t get that dagger to fall.
The Panther’s Manowitz got fouled during another smart three point attempt, similar to what happened earlier. He hit all free throws to tie the game up again. BNL missed their next opportunity, which allowed JC to have the last second shot.
Manowitz takes the shot with 2 seconds left and gets fouled, game still tied at 71. He made his first shot, but gave BNL a chance to shoot with 2 seconds left, but they couldn’t get anything off. Jennings County got their first lead at the end of the game, and get the win, 72-71.
This game was a classic to watch. It could be up for consideration of game of the year. A roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, points and defense a plenty. Bedford North Lawrence played great basketball, and they should be proud, but the Panthers were just relentless and loved playing from behind. There were a lot of fouls called this game, some of them questionable, but it was still a great game to watch.
Jennings County Manowitz lead the Panthers with 25 points, and is our MVP for this game. He played smart senior ball and got to the foul stripe when he needed to.
Bedford’s Colton Leach leads all with 28 points and was huge for the Stars.