LAPEL — After being the home of Lapel basketball for 53 years, the “old” Doghouse at Lapel Middle School was once again occupied by the Bulldogs on Wednesday night — thanks to Mother Nature.
Lapel and Tri-Central finally took the court two previous attempts were postponed due to the frigid temperatures and snow that turned central Indiana into a winter wonderland.
Lapel successfully defended the Doghouse by defeating Tri-Central 64-54.
It was the first varsity boys basketball game played on the Dallas Hunter Court since Dec. 29, 2007.
The Bulldogs (8-5) are not known for their height, but team sporting black and gold held a clear size advantage against the Trojans (4-6).
Bobby Steele scored Lapel's first six points in the game's opening 1½ minutes, all came in the paint and were the result of his teammates feeding him the ball.
Ironically, Lapel’s next six points came from beyond the arc, first from Noah Hendershot then Mitchell Richardson.
Just like that, the Bulldogs were up 12-0, and the clock showed just less than five minutes to play in the first quarter.
“It was a good start for us,” Lapel coach Jimmie Howell said. “We had kids playing team ball, and then after we got that lead — we substituted and got some other kids in the game — we did have much drive after that.”
Lapel held a 32-26 scoring advantage in the paint.
“We have got to score more inside,” Howell said. “We have people that can shoot the ball, and we have people that can slash.”
Hendershot led all scorers with 18 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line. Ten of his points were in the second half, eight coming in the fourth quarter.
“My cuts,” the 6-foot-3 junior guard said of the key to the improvement in his second-half stats. “Cut through the middle and (the defender) was not there. Just need to be patient and work the ball around.”