LAPEL — The effort and the tempo was on the side of Lapel Friday as it played host to the Class 3A seventh-ranked Park Tudor Panthers.
But in the end, the Bulldogs could not overcome a poor shooting night, a few ill-timed mistakes, and late Panthers free throws as the team fell to Park Tudor 47-38.
Trailing for much of the first half, Lapel (9-7) fought back from a six-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the third quarter. Two layups from sophomore Luke Richardson and three free throws by his brother, senior Jon Ross Richardson, capped a 12-2 run to open the third quarter as the Bulldogs took a 31-27 lead late in the period.
Coach Jimmie Howell was appreciative of the effort his players gave during the comeback.
“We battled,” he said. “I thought we played a lot tougher tonight that we’ve played at any point this year. We rebounded well, and we should have. We just didn’t get enough scoring in the post tonight.”
Lapel turned over the ball just 10 times, almost four below the season average, but three of those came consecutively after gaining that four-point lead. Park Tudor (12-3) took advantage and tied the game before the end of the third quarter. But Howell pointed to two missed opportunities to open the fourth quarter as costing the Bulldogs momentum.
“We had two big problems,” he said. “Luke made a great cut, but didn’t catch it, and Rossy (Jon Ross) missed a close shot. If we get those two shots, it’s a different story.”
Senior Kobe Webster, who scored seven of his 11 points in the final quarter, sank a 3-point shot to give the Panthers the lead for good at 34-31, and Lapel could get no closer than two the rest of the way. The Panthers made 10 of 15 free throws down the stretch to help seal the game, which went the way Howell wanted, except for the final score.
“We had the tempo in our favor,” he said. “And that’s what we have to do against teams like that. They’re quicker at every spot than we are.”
Luke Richardson led the Bulldogs with 14 points off the bench, but Howell would like to see the talented sophomore be even more aggressive offensively.
“I think there were three or four times where he caught it on the post and didn’t look to score,” Howell said. “Other than that, he played very well.”
Jon Ross Richardson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and junior Preston Scott had 10 boards as Lapel won the rebounding battle 38-30.
“We needed Rossy to score a little bit more,” he said. “But that’s OK — he’s going to have a tough time scoring as the season progresses because everyone will be keying on him, and the other kids are going to have to step up. The last two or three games, he (Scott) has been more aggressive.”
In the junior varsity game, the Bulldogs also overcame an early deficit but hung on for a 49-44 win against Park Tudor. Freshmen were dominant in the win as Cole Alexander scored 21 and had nine rebounds, Bryce Carpenter had 10 boards, Gage White had nine rebounds, and Carson Huber handed out four assists.
Lapel will travel to Elwood Saturday, Jan. 28, for its next game. The JV will play at 6 p.m. with the varsity to follow at 7:30.