The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

March 1, 2013

Frankton, Wapahani in finals

Lapel vanquished again at horn

LAPEL, Ind. — “I thought we were done losing games like this,” said Lapel boys basketball coach Jimmie Howell.

Apparently the Bulldogs are done a day later than their coach hoped.

Wapahani’s Talon Craycraft hit a 3-pointer from the right corner two seconds before time expired and the Raiders eliminated Lapel 57-54 in the first semifinal of boys basketball sectional play Friday.

The Raiders will now take on Frankton in today’s 7:30 p.m. title game. The Eagles (18-5) struggled at times before getting past Muncie Burris 52-43.

In the opening game, it appeared for a while that Wapahani would need no heroics to win. The Raiders pulled away early in the final quarter as Grant Evans went on a scoring spree. He hit his first four shots on his way to a 19-point outing. “He hurt us in that quarter,” said Howell. “He was hitting all kinds of shots.”

But Lapel roared back. Tanner Watkins, who had 14 points in the third quarter and passed the 1,000-point plateau for his career in the process, tied the game at 52-52 with a baseline shot. Jacob Foster hit from inside 20 seconds later to give Wapahani the lead again.

Watkins scored in the paint to tie the game again with 1:05 remaining. What followed was a wild sequence with the Raiders making two mistakes around one by the Bulldogs. The end result was that Lapel had the ball with 44.5 seconds left. The Bulldogs held the ball until 9.1 seconds were left and called another time out.

Lapel threw the ball in and with 5.4 seconds remaining, Wapahani was called for a foul, but it was only the fourth of the half against the Raiders. So Lapel would again toss the ball in.

Sophomore Brady Cherry passed it in at center court. The play was designed to go to Watkins. The pass went over the heads of the  Raiders defenders, but it also went over Watkins’ head, off his fingertips out of bounds. The Raiders had one chance left to avoid overtime. They put in 5-foot-9 junior guard Craycraft.

“We knew he was a shooter,” said Howell. “But we had to take the lob away. That’s what they wanted to do.” The lob would have been directed at 6-7 junior center Jacob Foster, who already had 19 points in the game.

What was left was Craycraft, but that was enough to end Lapel’s season.

Watkins finished with 24 points and Cherry 20 to top the Bulldogs.

“We thought we were as good as they were,” said Howell. “The big key to this game was all the free throws we missed in the first half.” Lapel (12-10) hit just 2 of 8 shots at the line before intermission.

Frankton actually trailed Burris 8-7 after one quarter of the second contest. The Eagles built the lead to nine at halftime, but the Owls sliced it to 34-30 going into the fourth quarter.

Junior Aaron Korn capped a big evening by scoring 10 points in the final period as the Eagles pulled away for a win. Korn led both teams with 24 points and nine rebounds. “We thought he’d play well,” said Frankton coach Brent Brobston. “He had his legs under him and was ready.”

Brobston was not particularly troubled by the 19 turnovers or that his team could never put the scrappy Owls away.

“We advanced and that’s all that matters right now,” he said. “We played defenses we had never played. We wanted to rotate kids into the game.”

Sophomore Nick Wright scored 10 points, followed by Trevor Hughes and Austin Compton with six apiece.

Burris senior Mackenzie Rathbun led his team with 15 points and eight rebounds.

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