By Bill Cross
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — FAIRMOUNT — Coming into their match-up Wednesday night, the Lapel Lady Bulldogs and Madison-Grant Lady Argylls were a study of opposites.
The Bulldogs were 5-0, ranked No.10 in 2A and had outscored opponents 95-51 in the first quarter on their way to averaging 70 points a game while only giving up 47.
The Argylls had struggled to an 0-5 record, scoring 30 points a game and had been outscored in the first quarter 67-33. But games are not played on paper and the host Lady Argylls put up quite a fight before falling to Lapel 66-55.
“I can’t say enough of how proud I am of the effort” Madison-Grant coach Chaz Barker said afterward. “It gives us confidence that we can play with some teams. When we figure out how to eliminate the careless mistakes that we have and do the small things, we can be competitive and win ballgames.”
Lapel came out early and built a 13-5 lead but Madison-Grant cut the deficit to five at the end of the first quarter, 17-12. Lapel started to ease away in the second but the pesky Lady Argylls were not going away easily. Lapel built a 40-22 lead at halftime thanks to the scoring of Mackenzie Boles, Kaitlin Dobbins and Kirsten Rich.
But the momentum swung early in the third and Madison-Grant chipped away behind a 10-point quarter by Cierra Liddick. “We know exactly what we are going to get with our post,” Barker said of Liddick and Bethani Herniak.
Liddick did not miss a field goal and hit two free throws as Madison-Grant went from down 42-22 to get within six at the end of the quarter.
Herniak scored to start the fourth and Rich was back in the game after sitting out with foul trouble. She made an immediate impact, scoring two buckets to put Lapel back up 53-42. Madison-Grant cut the lead down to five points midway through the quarter, and again with just over two minutes left but the veterans for Lapel stepped up.
Boles scored on a steal while Rich added a three point play and two more free throws to make it 66-53 and ice the game.
“I thought the third quarter we came out a little flat” Lapel coach Kevin Brattain said. “You have to give them (Madison-Grant) credit, they never quit.”
Liddick led Madison-Grant with 19 points, Emileigh Stanley also hit double figures with 10 and Herniak finished with 9. “Cierra was phenomenal with her decision making” Barker said. “She took what the defense was giving her and set up her teammates as well.”
Lapel was led by Rich’s 26 points, Boles had 16 and Dobbins scored 8. “We have a nice team” Brattain said. “We’re excited to be where we’re at and the kids are playing hard.”
Lapel is now 6-0 with a big game awaiting them on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in the Indiana Crossroads Conference and will host Cardinal Ritter (5-1, 1-0 ICC) Saturday. The game will be played at Lapel Middle School and JV action starts at noon.
Madison-Grant (0-6) will host Elwood Saturday in Central Indiana Conference action. The JV game is scheduled to tip at 1 p.m.