INDIANAPOLIS — Not many high schoolers have the opportunity to walk out of the same tunnel as NBA greats, let alone play on the same hardwood as the likes of All-Stars Paul George and Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers.
But the 14 Bulldogs from Lapel High School (12-8, ICC 3-3) did just that Monday against Class 2A No. 1 Park Tudor (18-4, ICC 7-0).
“It was a great experience,” Lapel’s Mitchell Richardson said. “Coach (Jimmie) Howell really provides for us, and he does a great job scheduling great games for us — tough schedule. I really enjoyed playing here ... I will remember it forever.”
While the memories of the experience may be fond for Richardson and his teammates, the outcome was not so sweet as they fell 73-47 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs fell behind early and were not able to recover from the Panthers' 13-4 run in the first six minutes of the game.
“(We) missed a lot of easy stuff — got a lot of good shots,” Howell said. “We did not get back in transition like we need to, and they jumped out to a lead.”
Lapel looked jittery early, missing its first seven shots from the field. The Bulldogs' first bucket bucket came from Noah Hendershot at the five-minute mark.
“Playing here it is a big arena,” Richardson said. “It has a different background that offsets your shooting a little bit.”
Richardson led Lapel with 10 points, on 4-of-10 shooting, and corralled four rebounds. Kameron Herrington came off the bench to connect on three of his five attempts from 3-point range, scoring nine points.
As Lapel continued to struggle with its shooting, finishing 20-of-52 (38 percent) from the field, Park Tudor didn’t seem to have much trouble finding the bucket.
“I did not think we were that bad defensively, they just hit a lot of great shots,” Howell said. “We kept them out of the paint for the most part. The only chance we have to be competitive with them is if they are not shooting the ball well, and they were shooting it well tonight.”