Jan. 20—LAPEL — Twenty-four hours after a long road trip that resulted in a hard-fought three-point win at Northeastern, Lapel faced the prospects of taking on a dangerous Class 1A foe in the Daleville Broncos at home Saturday evening. It was the kind of game coach Kevin Cherry referred to as a "trap game."
But a dominant big man and a suffocating defensive effort defused that trap in a hurry.
Bode Judge led four Bulldogs in double figures with 23 points while sophomore guard Devin Craig kept Daleville's top gun holstered as Lapel rolled to a 73-53 win at the Dawg House.
Lapel (9-5) has won four games in a row and nine of 10 after an 0-4 start. Daleville fell to 7-5 overall and 4-2 against 2A teams as it looks for quality opponents to prepare for the postseason.
"We have to match the physicality, and tonight we didn't do that," Daleville coach Ashley Fouch said. "I'll take the preparation game because we'll see more physicality down the road. Lapel is a good team for us to play during the regular season."
Cherry expected his team to be pushed by the Broncos, particularly after a nearly two-hour drive home from Fountain City on Friday night in inclement weather.
"I thought they came out ready to play, and Ashley does a great job, so I knew they'd be ready to play with a good game plan," he said.
Judge said playing on back-to-back nights was no big deal, and his results showed it.
He hit a 19-foot jumper at the end of the first quarter to pull Lapel within 15-14 after the Broncos had been in control for much of the first eight minutes.
Early in the second quarter, Judge found Matthew Carpenter for a layup and a 24-22 lead, giving Lapel the advantage for good. That score started a 10-1 run capped by a Judge drive to the basket that put the Bulldogs on top 32-23. The lead remained at nine as Talan Jarrett scored in the closing seconds for a 39-30 halftime edge.
Judge headed to the locker room with 13 points and six rebounds, and it was apparent early the biggest edge on the court belonged to the Bulldogs.
"From the start, we knew we had the size advantage and we tried to capitalize on that," Judge said. "As the game went on, we found more holes in their defense and we were able to capitalize on that also."
"I thought Bode would be an area that we could exploit," Cherry said. "My hope was that he would not get in foul trouble, and he didn't. I thought he was very good on both ends of the court tonight."
Lapel also got a shot of energy off the bench from sophomore Quinn Wilkins. The 6-foot-1 sophomore hit back-to-back 3-point baskets and finished with 10 points — all in the second quarter.
"Wilkins gave us great minutes in the second quarter," Cherry said. "Quinn is such a tough kid. He had a tremendous summer for us."
Led by Judge, the Bulldogs stormed out of the locker room with six straight points to push the lead to double digits. He opened the third quarter with a layup and followed with a pair of free throws. Jarrett followed with a 3-point basket for a 46-30 lead, forcing Fouch into a timeout.
"I think it came down to being undisciplined, specifically defensively on a lot of possessions," she said. "The first quarter is exactly how I want it to look for four quarters, but we got in our own way."
While Lapel's offense was in sync much of the night, Daleville's top scorer was left frustrated by the Bulldog defense.
Senior Meryck Adams was held to just three field goals and 11 points total as Cherry sent multiple defenders his way, but the bulk of the work was done by Craig. While he handed out seven assists on offense, his work on defense has become a source of pride for the sophomore.
"That's back-to-back nights that Devin has done that for us," Cherry said. "Defensively, last night and tonight was as good as he's been since I've known him. ... I'm very proud of him on his defensive effort."
For the game, Lapel committed just five turnovers as Brode Judge with 16 points and Carpenter with 13 joined Bode Judge and Wilkins in double-figures. Bode Judge also grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Daleville was led by Koleman Newsome with 20 points and six rebounds and Noah Colvin with 14 points and four assists.
The Bulldogs will have another back-to-back opportunity next weekend as they host Eastern Hancock on Friday and travel to Oak Hill on Saturday. Daleville will visit Anderson on Tuesday before hosting Union (Modoc) on Friday night.
Lapel triggered the running clock on its opening possession of the second half and rolled to an 83-26 win over the Broncos in the junior varsity contest. Owen Garber led all players with 20 points for Lapel while Luke Jones scored 13 and Mason Kenemer added 12. Bryson Sigler led the Broncos with 10 points.
Contact Rob Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-640-4886.