By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It took the Lapel girls basketball team about a quarter-and-a-half to shake off the rust in its season opener Friday at Anderson Preparatory Academy.
Once the Bulldogs got rolling, they never looked back in a 65-37 victory.
“I thought the game was really, really physical to start out with, and the kids had to adjust to that,” Lapel coach Kevin Brattain said. “We got to a point where we were going fight just as hard. I was really proud of that. We showed a lot of fight tonight.”
Especially in the second and third quarters when the Bulldogs outscored the Jets 35-10 and blew the game wide open.
The difference was Lapel’s transition game.
APA harrassed the Bulldogs in the halfcourt and led for much of the first quarter before the visitors finished the period on a 10-0 run. Lapel turned the tide by turning up its own defensive pressure.
Led by sophomore Kristen Rich and junior MacKenzie Boles, the Bulldogs began disrupting the Jets’ offense and knocking the ball loose. That led to easy layups at the other end, as Rich finished with 18 points and Boles added 16.
“They’ve got some athletes out there,” Brattain said. “They tried to outathlete us. But we got in the passing lanes and tried to do some things.”
APA turned the ball over 20 times in the first half and 32 times overall, watching a 10-6 lead evaporate into a 32-15 halftime deficit.
“We played good for the first 12 minutes,” Jets coach Ryan Fathauer said. “We were up that whole time, or right there next to them. I think we just got tired. We started to lose our legs, and we lost our minds after that.”
Attrition also worked against APA in the second half.
Senior Jasmine Matthews fell to the court with an apparent knee injury with 3:37 left in the third quarter. She was carried off the floor and back to the locker room and, with junior Justice Stephens shackled to the bench with five fouls, APA played the rest of the game with just six girls.
Brattain responded by stepping on the brakes in the fourth quarter. Leading 51-20, he emptied his bench.
It was a nice opportunity for the younger players, especially because APA did not have enough players for a junior varsity game.
“I thought the bench played really well,” Brattain said. “They did a lot of nice things. We tried to get some kids in there and get their feet wet. Who knows? One of them might have to play a big role for us later in the season.”
Junior Danielle Burnell made the biggest impact with 11 points and nine rebounds, but the Bulldogs got contributions from all over the court.
Junior Kaitlin Dobbins scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, senior Morgan Tarlton had eight boards, Boles grabbed seven rebounds and Rich corralled six caroms.
Lapel dominated the boards overall, winning that battle 50-26.
Junior Kayleigh Fries led the Jets (0-3) with 15 points. Freshman Janae Davis added seven, and sophomore Dejonee Davis finished with six.
As openers go, Brattain couldn’t complain with his team’s effort.
“We’ve been waiting to play for awhile now,” he said. “I’m just happy to get out of here with a win.”