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Bulldogs continue torrid stretch

Feb. 9—LAPEL — Few basketball hotbeds are quite as warm as Lapel is at the moment.

The night before the Bulldogs' girls team will take Jimmie Howell Court looking for a second straight regional title, the boys team — led by the Judge twins — set fire to the nets and captured its ninth straight win — and 13th in its last 14 games — with a convincing 72-44 decision over Shenandoah.

The Raiders fell to 9-9 on the season while Lapel (14-5) continued its longest win streak since the 2015-16 state championship team won 13 games in a row.

While Shenandoah stayed as close as it could with five first-half 3-point baskets — including three by sophomore Aiden Coffey — it had no answers for juniors Brode and Bode Judge, particularly early.

Bode Judge scored 16 of his 20 points while Brode Judge added 14 of his game-high 24 and the Bulldogs shot 16-of-27 (59%) in the first half. They outrebounded the Raiders 15-9 before intermission and committed no first-half turnovers.

The fast start was important against the Raiders.

"That was a point of emphasis before the game. Shenandoah can be a scary team," Cherry said. "They played (top-ranked) Tipton to a 29-29 halftime game, and if you're not making shots, the way they run offense and are patient, you can find yourself in a dogfight really quick."

The early play of the Bulldogs left Shenandoah coach Rick Ellsworth full of compliments for Cherry's group.

"The Judge boys were cooking tonight, but those boys are good kids, and they work hard," Ellsworth said. "That's a good team, and (Cherry) has them playing well right now."

The Judges cooled considerably in the third quarter, managing just one point on a Bode Judge free throw.

That's when sophomore point guard Devin Craig stepped up.

After the Raiders opened the third quarter with a three-point play from Haygen Tomlinson and a 3-point jumper by Hayden Hubbard to close the Lapel lead to 11, Craig went to work.

First, he found Nick Witte for a 3-point basket, and following a pair of Shenandoah misses, he scored the next four points on a drive and a pair of free throws and, after the Judge free throw, added a 3-point basket to push the Lapel lead back over 20 points at 49-27.

Craig recognized, with the Judges suddenly struggling to score, he needed to fill that void.

"I kind of noticed that they weren't hitting as much and that (Shenandoah) was leaving me a little more open," Craig said. "Sometimes I have to score, pass, or just play defense. It really just depends."

That's what Cherry expects from not just Craig but every player on the roster. Most contributed Friday, whether with points, rebounds or solid defense.

"I thought the entire team contributed tonight, into their roles," Cherry said. "They've really done that the last three or four games during this little roll that we've had. I'm not naïve that it's going to last forever, but during this little stretch, everyone has bought in."

The Judges each grabbed six rebounds while Craig added 15 points and seven assists. Witte chipped in eight assists and five rebounds.

Zane Mitchell topped the Raiders with 11 points and three assists, Coffey had nine points and A.J. Demick scored eight points.

Shenandoah returns home to face Randolph Southern on Saturday evening before travelling to Union (Modoc) on Tuesday for consecutive Mid-Eastern Conference games.

Lapel visits Winchester on Tuesday before returning home to face Madison-Grant on Feb. 16.

In the junior varsity game, Lapel pulled away late behind 20 points from Quade Hall and 10 from Cory Smith for a 64-39 win over Shenandoah. Cooper Allen led the Raiders with 13 points.

Contact Rob Hunt at

rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com

or 765-640-4886.