By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — LAPEL — Senior Night can be a tough gig for coaches and especially players, but the Class 2A No. 10 Lapel girls basketball team handled it well Monday with a 65-58 win over Wapahani.
Seniors Mackenzie Boles, Kaitlin Dobbins and Daniele Burnell all played meaningful minutes. Dobbins hustled and clawed her way to seven points, while Boles was the second-leading scorer with 14 points and Burnell led the team with seven boards.
“I thought our seniors played really well,” said Lapel coach Kevin Brattain. “You know, we’ve got to have it here. We don’t really like to lose on senior night. We knew this was going to be a tough one when it got moved to tonight.”
The Bulldogs (15-3) didn’t trail in the game until the 1:50 mark before the half, but by the time the halftime buzzer sounded they had regained a 32-30 lead. Boles had 10 points after the first 16 minutes of play.
Wapahani (12-6) made the trip from Selma to make up the game that was supposed to be played on Dec. 28, but the Bulldogs weren’t kind hosts as they bumped their halftime lead from two to 10 points at the end of the third quarter.
Brattain’s squad took a 50-40 lead into the final stanza before escaping with the seven-point win. He said that he told his seniors during senior night festivities before the game that he just hopes basketball was a good experience for them.
“It’s always tough,” said the coach. “One of the things that I told the kids before they came out to be with their parents was that I hope that basketball has been a positive thing for them, and that’s what we want. We don’t want kids leaving here thinking, boy, I wish I would’ve never played basketball.
“We want them to be happy that they played and be a positive experience. We’ve made a lot of trips, the team camps, shootouts, went out to eat, we’ve had a lot of fun. It’s been a joy for us. (There’s) nothing we would rather do.”
Brattain said that his three seniors came in to a program that was down, and he said they were the nucleus that brought the program back to where it is today.
“These three seniors came in when our program was down, and they basically stuck with us and have gotten better every single year,” he said. “Our win total has gone up every single year since these kids have been here. So we’re happy with that, and I’ve got a lot of respect for what they’ve done.”
Kirsten Rich scored a game-high 19 points, and Sam Kern was the other double-figure scorer for the Bulldogs with 11 points.
Lindi Thomas and Payten Lee led the Raiders with 18 and 13 points, respectively.