LAPEL — After a pair of opening weekend games in front of packed houses and high-energy crowds, Lapel had to bring their own energy for a mid-week game against an undermanned Elwood team.
The Bulldogs did just that, opening the game on a 14-2 run on their way to a 74-39 victory over the Panthers.
It was the 26th straight win over Elwood for Lapel (2-1), which lost Friday night at home to Anderson before taking an overtime thriller Saturday at Frankton. Those crowds were supercharged. This one was not.
“I thought we came out with a lot of good energy,” Lapel coach Tod Windlan said. “We told them to come out, be unselfish, move the ball and we’ll get good shots. My hat’s off to (Elwood coach) John (Kelly). His team was undermanned, and they played us man-to-man. That’s a tremendous favor for us because we play Pendleton (Heights) Friday, and they play all man-to-man, basically.”
The starters for Lapel helped build the big early lead, but with the advantage swelling to over 20 points in the second quarter, it was a night for Windlan to show off his team’s depth. The bench did little to disappoint, with three subs scoring in double figures.
Senior Chase Landis scored 11 and senior Jake Paska scored 10 for Lapel and freshman Brode Judge — his twin brother Bode starts — led all players with 16 points off the Lapel bench.
“Chase and Brode are kids that could start before the year was over,” Windlan said. “We’ve talked about that a lot. Brode is a freshman who was pretty nervous the first two games. But in the Frankton game, I thought he got himself into the flow himself, made a great baseline play. I told him he was going to play a lot tonight because I need him to get into a flow because we’re going to need him Friday night.”
Griffin Craig and Bode Judge scored eight points each while Landon Bair and Corbin Renihan added seven apiece as 10 players in total scored for Lapel.
Elwood entered the game with eight players dressed for varsity and was led by senior Will Retherford’s 13 points and junior Jayden Reese’s 12. Kelly said the offense got the shots they wanted, but they just were not falling.
Of concern to Kelly is a fourth-quarter ankle injury to junior Hunter Sallee, who recorded nine points and nine rebounds before leaving. Kelly said it is too early to know of his availability for Elwood’s next game Saturday.
“He’s a huge part of what we do, and the kids feed off of him,” Kelly said. “Hunter truly is the catalyst for this team.”
Friday night, Lapel will pay a visit to Madison County champion Pendleton Heights while Elwood (0-2) will travel to Daleville on Saturday night.
Windlan expects a battle Friday night against an Arabians team still seeking its first win of the young season after one-sided losses to both Anderson and Westfield.
“They’ve played two really, really great basketball teams,” Windlan said. “Westfield is top 10 in the state. They’ll be well prepared, and (Jamison) Dunham is not going to average seven points a game for much longer. I just hope he doesn’t pick us to go crazy.”