Lapel wins second straight sectional title

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LAPEL — They did it again.

This time though, securing the Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A Sectional 40 girls basketball championship was much easier for Lapel.

To earn their second straight title, the Bulldogs had to get through the same three teams they faced in last year’s tournament.

While each team gave them a scare last year, this time around the Bulldogs experience showed, and they proved why they’re the Class 2A state runner-ups.

Last season, Lapel defeated Wapahani by six points, Alexandria-Monroe by two and Winchester by five.

This year, the Bulldogs knocked off all three teams by double digits on their home court.

In the quarterfinals, they took down Alexandria-Monroe by a score of 50-36. It was their third win against the Tigers this season.

In the semifinals, they defeated Wapahani 44-27 for their second win against the Raiders this season.

And in the championship game, they bested Winchester for the second time this season with a commanding victory, 62-21.

Three first-quarter 3-pointers helped the Bulldogs grab an early lead against the Golden Falcons.

Sophie Goodwin and Jocelyn Love knocked down the first two, and near the end of the period, Maddy Poynter drilled another one to give the Bulldogs a 13-3 lead after one quarter.

Laniah Wills scored the Bulldogs other four points of the quarter.

Turnovers forced by the Lapel defense helped them grow the lead to 28-9 by halftime.

A Winchester 3-pointer cut the Bulldogs lead back down to 15 in the third quarter, but Lapel responded with a 10-2 to put things away for good.

In a 29-14 game, the Bulldogs outscored the Golden Falcons 33-7 the rest of the way.

Wills led Lapel with 18 points and nine rebounds, Love added 15 points, and Poynter had 14 points and three assists.

With the three wins, Lapel will enter the regional round as winners of their last six games, and winners of 11 of their last 12. They have lost to just two 2A schools all season long. In November they lost to Wabash 70-65, and in December lost to highly ranked Eastern Hancock 62-55.

Their familiar tournament path will continue in the regional as they take on Eastbrook in a rematch of last year’s regional championship. The Bulldogs escaped with a 39-37 win last season.

The game will be played at Lapel at 4 p.m. Saturday.