Bedford North Lawrence has faced Columbus North in the girls basketball regional five of the past six years.

This year, the Stars will instead face Columbus East. The Olympians avenged a regular-season loss to the North in the East Central Sectional semifinals, then edged the host Trojans to capture their first sectional title since 2011.

Saturday morning, Columbus East (17-9) and Bedford (21-4) will meet in the semifinals of the Columbus North Regional. The winner will play Class 4A No. 3 Castle (23-0) or Center Grove (20-6) for the championship at 8 p.m.

The Olympians and Stars have never met in the postseason, but they do play each other every year in the Hoosier Hills Conference.

“We both know each other really well, which makes it a little more difficult, actually,” Bedford coach Jeff Allen said. “I think anytime you play a conference opponent in the state tournament, they know us well and we know them well, so it will be hard to take something away.”

The Stars beat East 70-50 on Jan. 9 in Bedford. The teams were tied at 13 after one quarter, but Olympians 6-foot-2 senior Kristen Lyons picked up her second foul early in the second quarter and went to the bench. The Stars outscored East 25-10 in the period to take a 38-23 halftime lead.

After Bedford built the lead to 54-31 after three quarters, the Olympians outscored the Stars 19-16 in the fourth quarter. East finished the game on a 17-10 run.

“We just have to handle their pressure,” East coach Danny Brown said. “We have to handle the ball.”

The Olympians also will have to contain 6-1 junior Jorie Allen. The Indiana University recruit leads Bedford with 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.

Allen, the coach’s daughter, scored 21 points in the regular-season meeting against East.

“Jorie Allen is one of the best players, if not the best player, we’ve seen this year,” Brown said. “Everything kind of runs through her. She’s so fundamentally sound and athletic inside that we’re going to have to keep an eye on her. But then they have three or four or five great outside shooters. It’s going to be tough because their inside-outside game is so good.”

Last week, Jorie Allen averaged 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in leading the Stars to wins against North Harrison, New Albany and Jeffersonville to claim the Seymour Sectional title. She hit the game-winning 10-footer in a 57-55 double-overtime win against Jeffersonville in the final.

Jeff Allen, who was an assistant at Bedford before becoming head coach four years ago, said that was one of the best basketball games he’s been involved with.

“You had two high-quality teams with great players making plays all night long,” he said. “We were lucky enough to make the last one and come out on top.”

Jorie Allen was named the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association District 3 Girls Player of the Week for her efforts in the sectional. Jeff Allen said his team has been shooting the ball well, and a player like Jorie Allen is really hard to stop in a situation where she can be isolated.

“When you surround a kid like that with kids that can shoot the ball, it makes it tough on defenses because if you want to double-team her, we have kids that can make shots from the outside,” Jeff Allen said. “If you want to leave her one-on-one, it’s going to be tough to keep her from getting to the basket. So that’s where we make it difficult for people.”

The Olympians are led by 5-9 senior Addy Galarno, who averages 12.3 points, and 5-11 senior point guard and Franklin College recruit Britney Ballard, who adds 10.3 points. Lyons averages 8.0 points and 7.7 rebounds.

East held Shelbyville, Columbus North and East Central to 24, 29 and 32 points, respectively, in their sectional. Brown said the Olympians will have to have that same type of defensive effort against the Stars, and if they do, they’ll be in the game.

Meanwhile, Bedford will try to make it a full-court game. Jeff Allen said the Stars will have to rebound with East and not let it have two or three opportunities every time down the court.

“They have some length at several positions, and they shoot the ball well,” he said. “I think they pass the ball well for being as long and lengthy as they are. With their length, when you drive the basket, that can pose you some problems.”

Columbus North Regional

Saturday

10 a.m.: Columbus East (17-9) vs. Bedford North Lawrence (21-4)

Noon: Center Grove (20-6) vs. Castle (23-0)

8 p.m.: Championship

At a glance

Columbus East

Probable starters;Height;Year;PPG;Other stat

G-Britney Ballard;5-11;Sr.;10.3;3.3 apg

G-Addy Galarno;5-9;Sr.;12.3;1.9 spg

G-Whitley Rankin;5-4;Soph.;7.7;2.1 apg

F-Kristen Lyons;6-2;Sr.;8.0;7.7 rpg

F-Claire Cunningham;6-1;Jr.;6.0;7.2 rpg

Top reserves;Height;Year;PPG;Other stat

F-Sarah Park;5-9;Jr.;4.7;2.4 rpg

G-Katie Dougherty;5-8;Soph.;4.6;1.5 rpg

G-Nicole Reisinger;5-6;Jr;0.8;0.7 apg

Bedford North Lawrence

Proabale starters;Height;Year;PPG;Other stat

G-McKenzie Messmore;5-6;Sr.;7.4;3.4 apg

G-Jacy Hughes;5-5;Jr.;7.6;2.9 apg

F-Jorie Allen;6-1;Jr.;17.1;8.0 rpg

F-Allie Crulo-Rood;5-7;Sr.;2.3;3.4 rpg

C-Madison Webb;6-2;So.;7.6; 4.8 rpg

Top reserves;Height;Year;PPG;Other stat

G-Chloe McKnight;5-7;Fr.;7.8;1.5 apg

F-Katie Fisher;5-7;Jr.;4.1;1.4 rpg

G-Gracie Crulo-Rood;5-4;Soph.;0.2;0.8 rpg

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.