A breach by Leach leads to extra motivation for Bedford North Lawrence boys basketball team

·6 min read

BEDFORD — Colten Leach committed a forbidden breach of the Coach Hein Philosophy of basketball practice last Saturday morning.

Leach, a junior captain for the Bedford North Lawrence boys team, grew lackadaisical with his effort level.

Hein was in no mood for it after the Stars' had been silenced by Seymour in a 36-26 loss Friday night, and Leach let his bad outlook languish a little too long as he lay across the floor during a drill.

BNL junior guard Colten Leach (2) makes a move in BNL's win over Columbus East.
BNL junior guard Colten Leach (2) makes a move in BNL's win over Columbus East.

It came to a head, and the head coach is going to prevail in such situations. Leach was "excused" from practice, and exited to the locker room.

What came next is a perfect lesson for players, young and old, in how to respond to tough love.

Leach bounces back brilliantly

Leach had two ways to respond to the discipline: Wallow in self-pity, or take it for the constructive criticism it was and use it as fuel for motivation. The direction he took became obvious Saturday night when he scored 14 points, hauled in eight rebounds, snagged six steals and dished three assists while committing just two turnovers.

His effort, along with a great game from junior guard Colton Staggs (21 points, four boards, three assists), lifted the Stars to a 56-45 victory that snapped a two-game skid and dug them out of an offensive abyss.

BNL's Colten Leach scores over North's Gavin Reed during the Danny Bush Classic.
BNL's Colten Leach scores over North's Gavin Reed during the Danny Bush Classic.

Leach said there was never any doubt about his response because he and Hein share a strong mutual respect.

"There's no hard feelings between coach Hein and I, whatsoever, nothing like that at all," Leach said. "I know he wants what's best for me and wants me to succeed, and he wants what's best for the team.

"I knew it at the time it was happening and I know it now. It was just a moment in practice. It happens and it's over, and it's all good now."

No lollygagging in basketball

Just as Tom Hanks tells us there's no crying in baseball, Jeff Hein asserts that there should be no loafing from 16- and 17-year-olds in basketball.

No BNL player is above the "no-lollygagging" law.

"I really had no choice but to kick him out that day because I needed to get him going, and he's better than what he was showing with his effort," Hein said. "If I let him get away with it then everybody is going to think it's okay, and it's not okay.

"If I do it to him then the message is clear that I will do it to anybody. It has to be done at times to get everybody's attention, and this team really needed to pick it up and get going.

"Leach is a great kid, but he was going through a stretch where he wasn't performing to his standards, and he maybe needed a wake-up call."

Leach accepts responsibility

The captain's description of the incident was refreshing in this day-and-age of coaches being blamed for every failure, and coddling of kids so they don't get their feelings hurt. No, we don't want to go back to the dinosaur days of physically abusing players, but a well-timed tongue lashing is usually quite necessary.

BNL's Colten Leach (2) goes up against tight defense from Seymour's Casey Regruth Friday night at BNL Fieldhouse.
BNL's Colten Leach (2) goes up against tight defense from Seymour's Casey Regruth Friday night at BNL Fieldhouse.

That's how Leach saw it.

"I definitely deserved it," he acknowledged. "We were doing a shuttle drill and I went down on a play. While I was down there I leaned backward to stretch my back, and coach thought I was laying down, and that's when he kicked me out of practice.

"But I had been lollygagging through the whole practice and he knew it, so I deserved it. It's okay because Jett's dad, Jimmy Jones, was my travel ball coach and he got onto me all the time to try to get me going, and my dad (Justin) gets on me, so I'm pretty used to it.

"Sometimes you need it. I love coach Hein and I think he loves his players and I know he wants the best for us. So I went to the locker room for a little while, and Coach (Zach) Robbins came and got me and I went back out and finished.

"I practiced hard after that, I can tell you that. And so did everybody else. You could of hear and see the looks on everybody else faces when he booted me, kind of like, 'Whoah, what's going on here.'

"I think the message was sent."

BNL takes it out on Mustangs

The Stars looked like a completely different team from Friday to Saturday. The offense got unlocked and it flowed much more freely after Hein told them to loosen up at the scoring end. BNL shot 45 percent from the field after shooting 25 percent and going 2 of 16 from the arc against the Owls.

"We needed that one," Leach sighed. "Before the JV game was over, coach Hein came into the locker room and told us that we'd been too tight on offense and we needed to play looser.

Colton Staggs drives to the basket during BNL's 48-48 conquest of Bloomington North in the championship game of the Danny Bush Classic Tourney.
Colton Staggs drives to the basket during BNL's 48-48 conquest of Bloomington North in the championship game of the Danny Bush Classic Tourney.

"We also wanted to push it more and really try to get it down the floor in transition so we could try to score before the defense had a chance to set up. I thought we did a real good job of that, and now we have to keep it up.

"Staggs played great and got his scoring going, and I tried to get on the boards hard. We had better balanced scoring with (Kaedyn) Bennett scoring 10 points, and that's big for us."

In other words, there was no lollygagging."

Red Devils, Warriors up next

The Stars (6-6) travel to Jeffersonville (3-8) Friday night for an HHC matchup. The Stars and Red Devils will be battling to get their heads above water in the conference with both coming in at 1-2 and tied for fourth in the league.

"Jeffersonville is always a really tough place to play, and it looks like they're going to be back to full strength to play us," Leach said. "They've had some injuries, and I heard that (Will) Lovings-Watts had been suspended (must've been lollygagging), but they say they're all back for this one.

"We're getting back on track, too, and all we have to do is play defense. We have to break them down at the offensive end, and play hard defense at the other end."

BNL has added a game to the schedule for Saturday with Evansville Harrison (7-7) coming in to replace the Evansville Reitz game that was lost to weather. It is a unique start time with JV tipping off at 4:30 p.m., and varsity at 6.

Contact Times-Mail Sports Writer Jeff Bartlett at jeffb@tmnews.com, or on Twitter @jeffbtmnews.

This article originally appeared on The Times-Mail: Leach mends breach to help Bedford North Lawrence boys basketball down Edgewood

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