BEDFORD — One of the more time-worn clichés in sports is that "a win is a win."
Sure, any win is pretty good, certainly better than a loss, but all wins are not created equal.
There are great wins that feature exemplary execution, and there are solid wins. There are mediocre 'we'll take it' wins, and there are wins that are dissatisfying.
Then there are wins that are such eyesores that they start at the top of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Class 4A's fourth-ranked Bedford North Lawrence labored through one of the latter Saturday afternoon during a 60-31 girls basketball victory that was U-G-L-Y and, as far as head coach Jeff Allen was concerned, the Lady Stars didn't have any alibi.
"I'm not overly happy with how we played," Allen said. "We made bad decisions with the ball, and tried to take chances that we didn't need to take. Defensively, we had breakdowns that shouldn't really be happening right now. We only have up 30 points and that's okay, but it was certain things, especially with a lot or rebounds we gave up late.
"I told the girls we're capable of playing at a much higher level of play than this, and that's what disappointing about it., especially when we had an entire week to prepare for this game."
Lady Stars lower level of play
Looking at things on the surface, it might not appear to be a displeasing win. A 29-point margin seems shiny, and BNL went 13 for 13 at the free-throw line while forcing 29 turnovers. Sophomore guard Chloe Spreen had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, junior guard Karsyn Norman added 17 points and six steals, and sophomore guard Madisyn Bailey had 10 points and seven steals.
But Allen is looking far past the surface as the regular-season winds to a close (the IHSAA sectional draw is Sunday night). The coach is watching for all facets to fall into play heading for the postseason, and there were issues against a vastly-overmatched team that came in with a 4-15 record.
The Lady Stars shot 22 for 63 (34 percent) overall and 3 of 14 (21 percent) from the arc, while missing layup after layup. BNL also wound up with just a 33-30 advantage on the glass as they allowed their level of play to slide down to the opponent.
"We don't typically do that," Allen noted. "We normally play at a high level no matter who we're playing, but not today. I mean, how many layups did we miss? At least 20 points worth, and it wasn't just one person, it was everybody. They came off good sets, or good plays and good reads by people.
"We just didn't finish, and we can't have that. That's really going to matter in the tournament. We're trying to get to where we're fine-tuned, and I don't think we took steps in that direction today."
Outcome never in doubt
There was really never any question about which team would win. The Wildcats have struggled all season, particularly with their ballhandling, and the Lady Stars stole more passes than an airport pick-pocket.
BNL rolled to a 15-0 lead before Jasper's Aspen Sermersheim converted a three-point play with 40 seconds left in the first quarter. Bailey bailed out the offense at the outset, going 3 for 5 with a 3-pointer in the opening period when the rest of the squad went 3 for 13.
"We need her to do that, especially when the ball goes inside and comes back out to her." Allen said. "Madisyn is very capable of producing points, and we need her to be ready to pull the trigger when those looks are there."
Wildcats bare some claws
Emma Schipp started the second stanza with a layup for the Wildcats, and the Lady Stars lost the chip on their shoulder. Sermersheim grabbed a rebound and went the length for another layup to cut it to 15-7.
Bailey countered with her second trifecta and Emma Pride knocked down an 18-footer, but Jasper freshman Carlee Rogers drained a trey, and Schipp slipped free for a wide-open layup that cut it to 20-12 and prompted Allen to burn a tirmeout at the 4:10 mark.
BNL responded with an 11-2 burst that featured six points from Spreen and five by Norman to open a 31-14 halftime lead.
The Lady Stars went on a 17-4 blast to start the second half as Spreen tossed in seven more points and Norman added five. Allen went to a lot of reserves in the fourth period and he wasn't thrilled that the Lady Stars gave up 12 rebounds, including six at the offensive end.
"It just never was sharp today," he said. "You're hoping to build on things and we should have, but we didn't. It was a win, that's about it. We have two more chances to tune up before the tournament."
Sermersheim scored 10 points and Schipp eight for Jasper (4-16).
Ella Turner added six points and six rebounds and Kern had four points, six rebounds and four assists for BNL (18-2), which hosts Salem (10-8) Tuesday night.
Contact Times-Mail Sports Writer Jeff Bartlett at email@example.com, or on Twitter @jeffbtmnews.
BEDFORD NL 60, JASPER 31
Schipp f 4-9 0-0 8, Matheis, c 0-3 0-2 0, Rogers g 1-2 0-0 3, Mehringer g 2-4 0-0 4, Sermersheim g 4-8 2-4 10, Brandt 1-3 0-0 2, Hopf 0-0 0-0 0, Vaal 1-1 0-1 2, Sutton 0-0 0-0 0, Rue 1-3 0-0 2, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0, Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-34 2-7 31.
Bedford North Lawrence (60)
Kern f 1-5 2-2 4, Pride f 1-10 2-2 4, Spreen g 6-18 5-5 17, Norman g 7-17 2-2 17, Bailey g 4-8 0-0 10, Turner 3-4 0-0 6, Crane 0-0 2-2 2, Teague 0-1 0-0 0, Baumgart 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-63 13-13 60.
Jasper (4-16) 3 | 11 | 8 | 9 — 31
Bedford NL (18-2) 15 | 16 | 19 | 10 — 60
3-point goals: Jasper 1-5 (Rogers 1-1, Brandt 0-2, Sermersheim 0-1, Mehringer 0-1); Bedford NL 3-14 (Bailey 2-5, Norman 1-3, Spreen 0-3, Pride 0-1, Kern 0-1, Teague 0-1). Rebounds: Jasper 30 (Matheis 9); Bedford NL 33 (Spreen 10). Turnovers: Jasper 29, BNL 9. Total fouls: Jasper 11, Bedford NL 12. JV: Jasper, 38-35.
This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: Bedford NL girls basketball jams Jasper in IHSAA duel at BNL Saturday