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LAPEL — Down 15 to an unbeaten team as the third quarter was winding down and facing a probable third straight defeat, the Lapel girls basketball team’s margin for error was getting perilously close to zero Wednesday night.

Instead, the Bulldogs cut the mistakes to a bare minimum, forced Alexandria into a slew of turnovers and that set the Bulldogs up for an exhilarating ending.

A frantic final play culminated in Deannaya Haseman burying a 3-point shot just before the horn sounded and completing a miracle charge for Lapel, whose Thanksgiving was made with a 54-51 win.

The Bulldogs (3-3) trailed 42-27 with 1:16 to go in the third period and went on to double their point output in the ensuing time, while forcing Alexandria (6-1) into 10 turnovers.

“There were a lot of thoughts running through my mind, but the main one when we got down 15 was, we’re so much better than that,” Lapel coach Zach Newby said. “It’s not who we are, and I’m just trying in that moment to get us to who we are, right here in this game.”

What the Bulldogs were was a much more aggressive and stronger team, one that won its first three games and which now knocked off a Tiger squad that was ranked 16th in Class 2A and owned two decisive wins over Lapel last year.

It very much looked like Alexandria would make it three in a row, with an 18-6 second quarter lifting the Tigers to a 28-18 halftime edge. The lead remained at double digits for a good part of the third quarter, and the Tigers were poised to run down a Bulldog squad that had played the night before at Guerin Catholic and whose go-to post player Ashlyn Allman was on the bench with four fouls.

The 5-foot-11 Allman was likewise limited with fouls last week against Frankton, but this time, she played until the end and with authority down the stretch.

Allman had 10 points in the final period (in which Lapel outscored the Tigers 23-9), with four baskets in the lower paint and two free throws that got the Bulldogs to within 49-47 with three minutes to go.

Allman ended with 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

“She dominated this game,” Newby said. “Teams know they’re going to try to take her away, but when she plays with that energy and focus, you cannot stop her.”

Neither could Lapel’s next-tallest player, 5-9 forward AnnaLee Stow, be stopped.

Stow had 10 of her career-high 14 points in the final 9 1/2 minutes, and her trey with 57 seconds left pulled the Bulldogs even at 51.

The Bulldogs set up for a final shot before the possession that won them the game, but Katelyn Harpe stole it for the Tigers and was fouled with 6.5 seconds remaining. Harpe missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Stow rebounded and Lapel called time out.

Lapel had to go the length of the floor, and Kerith Renihan found Haseman spotted up at the left wing. The junior launched an uncontested shot. It was all cord, and the game belonged to the Bulldogs.

“That’s a play I picked up from watching college basketball,” Newby said. “I knew (the Tigers) were going to be face-guarding, so I knew we’d be able to get back the other way because they had people protecting the basket. Kerith got it to the right person, and when you get it to Deannaya, she’s going to hit it most of the time.”

Haseman had 16 points, including three treys.

“This is one we wanted to win,” Newby said. “This was a turning point, and this was a game that can almost determine how the rest of your season goes. You proved that when you can play with that energy and focus and you can turn people out and run, you can score some points, and we did it.”

Alexandria’s Jada Stansberry led all scorers with 21 points, and she had six assists and four steals.

Lapel hosts Yorktown on Tuesday and Alexandria is at Daleville on Saturday.

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