By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
It will be quite understandable if there’s a feeling of been there, done that at this year’s Lapel boys basketball sectional.
Last year, the Wapahani Raiders were 18-2 and favored to win the sectional at Lapel. Instead, Frankton came away with its first boys sectional crown.
This year, Wapahani is 17-3 and again tabbed as the team to beat in this six-team gathering.
“Last year was great for our players and for the community,” said Frankton coach Brent Brobston. “But this year is a new team with new players.”
The Eagles’ first foe isn’t Wapahani, but Winchester. The Golden Falcons are 11-9. Wapahani is the only team is this sectional they have played and the Raiders won that one 75-63. That is about the same margin that Wapahani had over Frankton.
“There is no game where you can be sure of the winner in this sectional,” said Brobston. “Winchester doesn’t have a lot of size, but they have a lot of heart and determination. We will have to match their intensity level.”
The Eagles have one of the state’s best underclassmen in junior Aaron Korn. He is averaging 23.5 points per game and is already the leading career scorer in Frankton boys basketball history. He also averages 1.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds.
Austin Compton is next in scoring at an 11.2 clip. He is second on the team in rebounding and first in assists, dishing out 6.5 per contest. Trevor Hughes, a senior, averages 9.1 points.
The winner of the Frankton vs. Winchester game Tuesday will play Muncie Burris at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Lapel (12-9) drew a first-round bye and will await the winner of the Shenandoah vs. Wapahani matchup in a game to be played on Friday.
“With the exception of Speedway, we’ve played everybody tough,” said Bulldogs coach Jimmie Howell. “Tanner (Watkins) and Drew (Norton) have a lot of experience. But everyone else was new to the varsity.”
Many people talk about Lapel’s size and how that could be an advantage, especially against other 2A schools.
“I don’t think our size will mean that much,” said Howell. “Most of the time, the games are won by quickness, athleticism and skill. You generally find those in players who are 6-(foot)1 or 6-2.”
The Bulldogs last played on Wednesday, so with the bye, they have a long break before returning to action.
“I don’t like having nine days between games,” said Howell. “But it does give us time to prepare and rest. I don’t like having to string together two wins instead of three.”
The Bulldogs have only played two of the five foes in this sectional — Frankton and Shenandoah. They have a win over the Raiders but two losses against Frankton (by a total of 10 points).
“Wapahani is a year older and much better,” said Howell. “Frankton has about everybody back. I would think they are both right at the top.”
Shenandoah is 7-12 with losses to Frankton and Lapel, the only two teams in this sectional it has played this season.
Junior Lane Young leads Shenandoah is scoring with an 11.6 average, getting over six rebounds per contest as well.
Dustin Hart, Austin Cain and Kyle Demick all average just over seven points a game for Shenandoah.