By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
The Lapel girls basketball team jumped on Tri-Central early Monday and held on for a 57-44 victory on the Bulldogs’ home court.
Lapel senior post player Morgan Tarlton scored eight points in the first quarter as the Bulldogs scored the first eight points on the way to a 23-16 lead.
Lapel (12-4) got a brief scare as the Trojans (5-11) rattled off 12 of the next 19 points after falling behind 8-0. Tri-Central closed within three points at 15-12 before the home team opened up the seven-point advantage to end the first quarter.
The Bulldogs forced Tri-Central into 13 first-half turnovers and held a comfortable 34-20 lead at the half.
Lapel junior Kaitlin Dobbins scored five points in the second quarter to go with her four first-quarter points and led all scorers at the half with nine points.
In the final 16 minutes of play, the Bulldogs pushed the lead as high as 17 points and never let it slip below 11 as they cruised to victory.
Mackenzie Boles did not have the greatest shooting night of her career, but what she lacked in points she more than made up for with her rebounding prowess. Boles finished with 17 rebounds to go along with her eight points.
After Boles sustained a leg injury last softball season, Lapel coach Kevin Brattain said that he thinks she is starting to play more aggressively now.
“She’s starting to get back being aggressive again,” he said. “She kind of lost her confidence a little bit shooting the basketball, and she just needs to step back and shoot it. At least she’s following her shot, we’ve got her doing that, and she’s a great rebounder.”
Brattain feels like one of the key players in his arsenal of balanced scorers is Tarlton. He said that the coaching staff is really happy to see her scoring the basketball this season.
“Morgan Tarlton is probably the most steady player we’ve got,” said the Bulldogs coach. “Every game she’s just going to go out there and battle. We’re tickled to death that she’s starting to score more for us. We always get excited when Morgan scores. She deserves it. She works so hard.”
Brattain said Daniele Burnell gave his team a spark off the bench. She came into the game and poured in nine points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Lapel went through a stretch of the season where its coaches weren’t pleased with its offensive production, but Brattain said the Bulldogs are starting to hit some shots and gain confidence.
“Any time the ball goes in the basket, you’re bound to look better,” he said. “We spent a lot of time on it. We came in after the Elwood game, and we didn’t really sit down and just harp and harp. We just got after it and shot.”
Brattain knows his girls need to continue playing aggressively on the offensive end as they have a monumental task in their next game. The Bulldogs take on Class 2A No. 5 conference-foe Triton Central, who is 14-1 on the season.
“Triton Central comes in here with a 14-1 record, ranked in the top five, playing for the conference championship on our floor,” he said of Saturday’s game. “We’ve got an opportunity to make a statement, and that’s all we can ask for.”