By Travis Whitton
For the Herald Bulletin
---- — LAPEL — All good things must come to an end. The Lapel Bulldogs boys basketball team found that out the hard way Friday night.
Despite holding a lead three minutes into the third quarter, the Bulldogs dropped a 52-37 decision to Class 2A No. 3 Wapahani Raiders in the sectional semifinal.
The Bulldogs (14-9) led most of the first quarter, but a 3-pointer by Wapahani's Talon Craycraft at the end of the period knotted things at 11-11.
Lapel held the Raiders (21-1) in check in the second quarter, outscoring them 8-6 to go into halftime with a 19-17 lead. It looked as though the home team had the visitors playing at its pace.
But Wapahani ran away with the game in the second half, going on a 16-0 run that spanned both the third and fourth quarters. The visiting Raiders outscored Lapel 35-18 in the final 16 minutes to take the 15-point victory.
Bulldogs coach Jimmie Howell said the reason his team faltered in the second half was not finishing around the basket.
“Missing point-blank shots,” he said of the difference between the first and second halves. “How many layups did we miss in the next two or three minutes? And once they hit some shots there were several big plays.”
Howell said that his team has played better teams than Wapahani, but he said with any good team you can’t miss “bunnies” when the other team is hitting them.
Despite the loss, the Lapel coach said that this team surprised him with its win total this year.
“I’m not sure I thought at the start of the year that we would win 14 games with the schedule we play,” Howell said. “I thought they overachieved a little bit. I told them I thought we played 12 good, I’m talking about top 100 teams in the state, good teams, and played them well.”
The Bulldogs coach said that this year’s squad was one of the hardest working groups he’s coached.
“The effort they gave us from the start to the finish of the year, you couldn’t ask for more,” Howell said. “Great practice group. Bought into what we were doing.”
Junior Brady Cherry was the only double-figures scorer for Lapel with 11 points. Reserve sophomore Kamron Herrington poured in three 3-pointers for nine points, and senior Bailey Partington led his team with nine rebounds.
Wapahani senior and Wright State recruit Grant Evans led all scorers with 26 points, and Jacob Foster nearly had a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.