By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
The Anderson boys and girls outran their Lapel counterparts Saturday in the first round of the Madison County Basketball Tournament.
The Lady Tribe used a 26-2 first quarter to put away their hosts 66-33, and a fast start also played a prominent role in the boys’ 74-66 win against Lapel.
But the evening’s second contest was not without its late drama.
Anderson (6-2) led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter and was still up 64-49 with just more than 3 minutes left to play in the game. But a combination of missed free throws by the Indians and clutch 3-point shooting by Lapel’s Drew Norton made for a tight finish.
“We just didn’t finish the game out like we need to finish it out,” said Anderson coach Joe Nadaline, who was otherwise pleased with his team’s performance. “We won the game, and we did what we needed to do to win it. But as a coach, I’m thinking about down the line when we get in this position. It may be for the county championship. It may be for an NCC championship. It may be for a sectional championship. But we’ll have to finish better than we did tonight.”
The Indians made just four of their first 11 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, allowing the Bulldogs (4-5) a second life.
Norton took full advantage, hitting three consecutive 3-point attempts and turning one into a four-point play after a foul.
The last of his trifectas made it a 71-66 game with 16.4 seconds to play before Chris Lemon and Tre Boyd made three straight free throws to end the game.
Many of Lapel’s problems came early on, when Anderson’s Jalin Beard forced the pace and helped the Indians to take a 10-2 lead. Kenya Wilkerson hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Tribe a 19-7 advantage, and the lead never dipped below double figures until the final minutes.
“We started off playing a little bit scared and tentative early,” Lapel coach Jimmie Howell said. “And you can’t do that against teams like (Anderson).”
Beard led four Indians in double figures with 23 points. Wilkerson added 18, and Chris Lemon finished with 17 points. Boyd had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Tanner Watkins led the Bulldogs’ comeback attempts before Norton’s hot streak and finished with a team-high 21 points. Norton added 17.
Anderson will host Liberty Christian in Wednesday’s semifinals. Lapel hosts Alexandria in the consolation bracket as Howell makes his fourth attempt at win No. 500.
The girls’ game was over early as the Lady Tribe sprinted to an 11-0 lead, took control 26-2 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Anderson (7-3) had three players in double figures and seven with at least five points. Da’Sha Boyd led all scorers with 12 points, and Darien Thompson and Taylor Potts added 10 each for the Tribe.
Freshman Natalia Campbell led Lapel (9-2) with 10 points.
“Unfortunately in our scheme, we’re so deep, nobody can pad their stats,” Lady Tribe coach Chad Cook said. “We’re a real unselfish team. Every one of them could score 15 points if we left them out there for the whole game. But we’re trying to be unified.”
Lapel couldn’t handle Anderson’s full-court press, turning the ball over 17 times in the first half and finishing with 30 turnovers overall.
The defending county champion Lady Tribe will face Alexandria in Monday’s semifinals at Pendleton Heights. Lapel meets Liberty Christian in the consolation bracket at Frankton.