By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
FAIRMOUNT, Ind. —
The Lapel Bulldogs invaded Madison-Grant and used their rebounding prowess and a strong start to walk away with a 55-46 boys basketball win.
Lapel’s Tanner Watkins led a first-quarter burst with three 3-pointers to give the Bulldogs a 16-9 lead.
The Argylls (2-2) put together a strong second quarter by outscoring Lapel 18-12 and trailed just 28-27 at the half.
Jeremy Johnson and Jake Lemon combined to score all but two of Madison-Grant’s second-quarter points.
Johnson had seven, and Lemon had nine points to narrow the deficit.
Lapel (2-1) shot 1-of-10 from the field, but the Bulldogs were able to knock down 10-of-13 from the free-throw line.
They outscored the Argylls 27-19 in the final 16 minutes to pull away.
Brendan Hardwick and Dane Mason gave the Bulldogs a boost by combining for 18 points and 24 rebounds. Hardwick had 16 of those 24 boards.
“Dane and Brendan both played well,” said Lapel coach Jimmie Howell. “We’re going to have times — we have four or five post people — we’re going to have different games (where) some of them play better than others, and tonight those were the two that were outstanding for us.”
Howell said he told his team after the game he didn’t feel like they were playing well, but he said he doesn’t want to be peaking right now.
“We’re winning ugly,” he said. “We’re not playing very well. We’ve not meshed yet. We will, and it’ll happen. You don’t want to play too well too early.”
Argylls coach John Irwin said his team didn’t shoot very well, and he credited Lapel’s defense for much of its shooting woes.
“Their strengths — and I told our guys after the game — it’s good for us to see this, because their strength, you look at their guards and they’re all pretty cut,” Irwin said. “It’s good for us to have to bang a little bit with those guys in that aspect. I think a lot of it had to do with them, and we weren’t stroking it very well. Everybody’s shot looked a little flat to me.”
The Argylls coach said Johnson’s consistency has been the biggest difference from last year.
“Jeremy’s transformed from last year,” said Irwin after his star guard’s 21-point performance. “Jeremy would have one good game then disappear for five or six games then he’d have another good one. He’s been steady for us. He changes the game because he is a shooter, and people have to respect that.”
He said Lemon was another player that got the Argylls back into the game.
Lemon hit his first five shots and finished 5-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line for 13 points and added five rebounds off the bench.
“Jake came in and played a very good first half for us,” said Irwin.
Irwin said he thought one of the biggest differences in the game last night was Lapel’s rebounding advantage.
The Bulldogs outrebounded their counterparts 39-30 on the night.