Bulldogs pull away from feisty Raiders

Jan. 11—MIDDLETOWN — After Thursday's 54-30 loss to Class 2A fifth-ranked Lapel, Shenandoah coach Hayley Wilson was not interested in any moral victories. This year's outcome was much closer than last season's 77-26 defeat in Lapel, and with a few made layups, the Raiders might have held a lead in this meeting in the first half.

Wilson knows how talented her young team is and what it is capable of achieving. Her message in the locker room after game was what the Bulldogs are now is where the Raiders can go.

"We missed three bunnies in a row or we might have had the lead in the first quarter," she said. "In the locker room, I said we got beat by 51 (last year) and 24 (tonight), and we're not happy. We want to be the ones beating people by 24, so we need to remember how this feels. We're capable of flipping this around, and we won't be happy until we do."

Despite a spirited first quarter, it was obvious the Raiders are not on Lapel's level just yet. Laniah Wills scored 19 points, Maddy Poynter added 16 and the Bulldogs also received big scoring and defensive support from a few unlikely sources to outlast Shenandoah.

It was a listless opening quarter for Lapel coming on the heels of Tuesday's low-scoring 35-33 win at Blackford, possibly showing a slight hangover from the team's second straight Madison County title a week ago.

Lapel coach Zach Newby believes the team is just not as focused as it needs to be.

"That (Blackford) game and tonight were similar in that we came out slow defensively in the first quarter, for some reason," he said. "You have to be more focused. I told them we kind of put it on them last year, so we knew they were going to play hard tonight."

Shenandoah (8-9) never led, although after forcing four Lapel turnovers in the opening period had its opportunities. But several missed shots and four miscues of its own resulted in Lapel scoring the first six points of the game.

Despite the errors, Shenandoah did pull within 9-8 on a Grace Lee baseline score and at 15-13 when Lilliana Lynch scored on a rebound basket at the buzzer.

"We're not happy with moral victories, but we wrote on the board that (Lapel) puts their shorts on just like everyone else," Wilson said. "We did not forget that they beat us by 51 last year. We knew what we were getting into. We watched film on them all week. We knew what we had to do. But I have the best kids. They're never afraid of anybody. They go in as the underdog looking for a fight, and I think they put up a great fight."

Lapel looked much more in charge during the second quarter.

A Wills 3-pointer and a pair of Poynter drives to open the period sparked a 13-4 run as Lapel (16-3) expanded the advantage to 28-19 at intermission.

A pair of AnnaLee Stow baskets and a Wills layup off a steal helped Lapel to an 8-0 run to start the third quarter. The Bulldogs did not turn the ball over in the period, outscored the Raiders 13-6 and after being outrebounded 19-17 by Shenandoah in the first half, dominated the glass in the second half to win that battle 33-30 for the game as well.

"We didn't talk about any Xs and Os at halftime other than they've got to be focused," Newby said. "They weren't happy with the way they played, but that's also on them."

Starting point guard Rosemary Likens connected on three 3-point baskets for nine points to boost the Lapel offense while Brooklynn Boles provided the Bulldogs with energy off the bench as she added seven rebounds, a block and an assist.

"Brooklynn Boles was the key tonight," Newby said. "She is the one — I told them in the locker room — who brought the energy. I didn't have anyone who was bringing energy tonight, but Brooklyn did that. She rebounded, and she defended."

Gabbi Patrick led Shenandoah with seven points and five rebounds while Lynch and Hayley Hughes added six points each.

Shenandoah will resume its Mid-Eastern Conference schedule with a Saturday afternoon visit to Randolph Southern while Lapel will visit Pendleton Heights for a rematch of last week's Madison County tournament semifinal, won 63-59 by the Bulldogs.

Contact Rob Hunt at

or 765-640-4886.