By KEVIN HARRIS
FLOYDS KNOBS – Class 4A No. 9 Bedford North Lawrence continues to have Jeffersonville’s number in sectional play.
The Stars advanced to the Class 4A Floyd Central Sectional championship game with a 44-34 semifinal victory over the Hoosier Hills Conference champion Red Devils on Friday night at Highlander Gymnasium.
It was the fourth consecutive season that Bedford (19-4) has defeated Jeff (16-8) in the sectional. The Stars will face Jennings County (11-14) in the final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Panthers beat New Albany (15-7) in Friday’s first semi 59-47.
Sophomore Tori Handley was the lone Red Devil to score in double figures with 11 points. Jeff senior guard Jhala Henry tallied nine. Handley and Henry each knocked down three 3-pointers. Henry also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
Bedford put some distance between itself and the Red Devils in the third quarter. Leading 18-17 at halftime, the Stars scored the first eight points of the third to go up 26-17 with 4:26 left in the period.
But Jeff clawed back to within 34-32 with 5:25 remaining in regulation. Bedford, though, ended the game with a 10-4 run. A key segment during the spurt was when the Stars hit 3-of-4 free throws following a personal foul and a technical foul called on Red Devil sophomore Chelsea Gibson. The foul shots put Bedford up 39-32 at the 3:04 mark.
Junior McKenzie Messmore paced the Stars with a game-high 15 points. Bedford forward Jorie Allen ended up with 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Kennedy Bunch added nine points.
Both teams struggled with their shooting. The Stars were 13-of-38 from the field (34.2 percent), while the Red Devils shot 12-of-44 (27.3 percent).
Bedford outscored Jeff by 12 points at the free-throw line. The Stars were 14-of-22 from the stripe (63.6 percent), while the Devils were 2-of-7 (28.6 percent).
Jeff said goodbye to two seniors in Henry and forward Jaelyn Lee.
CLASS 4A FLOYD CENTRAL SECTIONAL
BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE 44, JEFFERSONVILLE 34
Jeff 10 7 7 10-34
Bedford NL 13 5 13 13-44
Jeff (16-8): Tori Handley 11, Jhala Henry 9, Jacinta Gibson 4, Nan Garcia 3, Chelsea Gibson 3, Jaelyn Lee 2, Britney Epperson 2, Jaylynn Brown 0, Kelsie James 0.
Bedford NL (19-4): Mckenzie Messmore 15, Jorie Allen 11, Kennedy Bunch 9, Allie Fugate 6, Jacy Hughes 3, Kiana Brown 0, Halle Hughes 0, Allie Crulo-Rood 0.
3-point field goals: Jeff 6 (Handley 3, Henry 3); Bedford NL 4 (Bunch 2, Fugate 1, Messmore 1).