ELWOOD, Ind. — What a difference six weeks makes – and a single player -- from Lapel girls basketball coach Kevin Brattain’s point of view.
The Bulldogs held off a scrappy Alexandria team for a 55-49 victory in the third-place game of the Madison County tournament at John Ward Gymnasium in Elwood.
It was the second meeting between the two teams this season, but a drastically different contest as the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers by 40 points the first time on Nov. 27. However, the Class 2A No. 3 Bulldogs were without three-year starting point guard Kirsten Rich, who missed the game with an injury.
“That was an interesting game for us and the first game in three years we have played without Rich,” said Brattain. “We won and we’re glad about that, and now we will go back to normal conditions. Alexandria played really well, and (Courtney) Skinner shot the ball well.”
On the other side, Alexandria coach Tina Bolte was ecstatic with her team's effort.
“I’m so proud of this group, and we have improved so much,” said Bolte. “Overall, with the effort and how we are playing, we might be playing beyond what we are capable of playing.”
MacKenzie Boles led all scorers with 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals, hitting 10 of 14 field goals and 4 of 5 free throws. Natalia Campbell was also in double figures with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Kaitlin Dobbins added seven points, three rebounds and three steals, and Samantha Kern chipped in with six points and seven rebounds.
“Boles saved our bacon,” said Brattain. “Our strategy was to get someone to hit a shot, and we just had kids playing in different spots. The first half, we didn’t play with much energy.”
Alexandria was led by Skinner with 21 points and three assists, hitting 8 of 12 field goals, including three 3-pointers. Kennedy Aiman was also in double figures with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
“(Courtney) is playing really well right now and with a lot of confidence,” Bolte said about Skinner. “She stepped up and hit some big shots. Kennedy played great, and she is playing really well right now, too.”
Lapel shot 43 percent from the field, including 3-of-12 from 3-point range and 8-of-15 from the free throw line. Alexandria was at 41 percent shooting, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc and 3-of-7 from the charity stripe.
The Tigers had a 36-33 advantage on the boards, including 12-10 on the offensive glass. The Bulldogs had the edge in points in the paint (38-28), turnovers (13-20), points off turnovers (18-10) and steals (11-8).
Lapel led just 14-13 after the first period, 24-23 at the half and 42-39 after three quarters but never led by more than four points, and there were 11 lead changes through the first 24 minutes.
Alexandria took the lead for the final time at 48-47 with just under four minutes remaining on a layup by Kennedy. Campbell answered with a layup to give the Bulldogs the lead for good, and Boles scored the next four points to put the game away.
Alexandria (3-10) travels to Elwood on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Lapel (11-2) hosts Shenandoah on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.