By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — LAPEL — It is a vicious circle to look at the top teams in the Lapel 2A boys basketball sectional and try to determine a favorite based on regular season performance.
Wapahani (20-1) and Frankton (19-2) have the best records in the six-team field. Lapel and Winchester both have winning records.
But Wapahani's only loss came at the hands of the Eagles. One of the two Frankton losses was administered by the Bulldogs. Yet Wapahani owns a convincing win over Lapel. So those three teams all have one or more wins that make them look like a sectional favorite.
"I think it could be said that Frankton got the best draw," said Lapel coach Jimmie Howell, making note that the Eagles are in the opposite bracket from Lapel and Wapahani. "But some will say that Wapahani got the easiest draw because they got a bye." Wapahani doesn't play in the first round and will await the winner of the Lapel vs. Shenandoah game on Tuesday.
The Eagles and Bulldogs split a pair of games this season. Lapel won the Madison County Tournament contest and Frankton came back to win a regular-season tilt on Feb. 18. Both Frankton coach Brent Brobston and Howell are limiting their focus to the first opponent on Friday when the Eagles play Muncie Burris after Lapel plays Shenandoah.
"We can't overlook Burris (3-16)," said Brobston. "We've seen them play. They present some challenges. They are quick and we will need to be disciplined against them. We have to take it one game at a time, one quarter at a time."
The Eagles will take to the court Tuesday for the third straight game without starting junior point guard Austin Compton, who isn't likely to play in the sectional due to illness that required hospitalization.
"We can't put our heads down," said Brobston. "We will need to have players step up. We've got a good core. All of our 12 players are seniors or juniors."
Lapel is looking straight at Shenandoah (8-12), a team it defeated Feb. 13 by 24 points.
"When we played them, they used a triangle and two against us and we really hadn't talked much about that then," said Howell. "But we've gone over it now and I think we will be better prepared to handle it if we see it again. We've had a good rivalry with Shenandoah. Over the last 21 games, they've won 11 and we've won 10."
But Howell likes the way his team is playing right now.
"We've played pretty well the last month," he said. "We've been consistent defensively. Offensively we've been a little inconsistent but I think every coach can say that."
Game times on Tuesday and again for Friday's semifinals are at 6 and 8 p.m.