LAPEL — A twist of fate might have changed the course of the game Saturday night as the Lapel boys basketball team turned a 15-12 first-quarter lead into an 81-38 trouncing of Elwood.
With the score 9-5 in favor of Lapel with 2:26 remaining in the opening period, Elwood’s Jordan Arehart and Jared Bourff collided head-to-head which resulted in both players leaving the court.
Arehart walked off with blood running down his face, and Bourff lay on the floor for several minutes. The result was a loose tooth for Bourff after Arehart’s forehead met his mouth and a gashing the head for Arehart.
The Panthers were still able to fight through the first-quarter adversity to the tune of a three-point deficit, but Lapel’s Mitchell Richardson busted the game open in the second quarter by scoring 13 of his 16 points.
Bulldogs coach Jimmy Howell got contributions from up and down his roster. Starter Noah Hendershot matched Richardson’s 16, and reserve Kamron Herrington led all scorers with 19 points.
Howell was particularly impressed with his team’s defense.
“This team is better defensively than we’ve been for a while,” he said. “For several years, in fact. In fact, the only team I’ve had better defensively is the state championship team.”
The Bulldogs’ depth has been used as motivation by both the coaching staff and players. Howell said they know if they don’t play well there is enough depth to replace any player on the team.
“The thing is, they know we have people on the bench that we can put in for them,” he said. “So if anyone starts goofing off or not defending, there’s somebody ready to go in.”
Elwood coach Landon Carroll thought there were a lot of breakdowns with his team, but the one thing he said was the biggest contributing factor was that his team played with no composure.