Lapel fans bring 'A' game to girls Regional

Feb. 10—LAPEL — For the final quarter of the Girls Regional basketball championship, the Lapel Bulldog fans brought their A game.

It marked the second year that Lapel defeated Eastbrook for a regional title and per tradition the team was paraded through town by the fire department.

For three quarters Saturday the battle between Lapel and Eastbrook, two of the ranked girls basketball teams in Indiana, fought like it was a heavyweight fight.

Neither team was able to open more than a few point lead until the decisive fourth quarter.

Lapel trailed by two points entering the final frame when senior Maddy Poynter drained a three to give the Lady Bulldogs the lead which was followed by a basket by sophomore Laniah Wills.

That brought the Lapel fans to their feet and chanting "defense" every time Eastbrook had the ball in the closing minutes of the game.

Kevin Newby, whose son is the Lapel coach, said it was an incredible game between two good teams.

"I thought it would be a close game because the prediction was Lapel by one," he said. "I thought it would be pretty close.

"Without the band the fans stepped up today," Newby said. "It was a great game to watch."

When the final buzzer sounded family members of Laniah Wills brought out a shirt to mark her scoring 1,000 points in her career.

Her grandmother Tonya Bucannon said it was a pretty exciting accomplishment.

"That's incredible," she said.

Jenny Willis, a Lapel resident, is a regular at the basketball games.

She followed the team to the state finals a year ago.

Willis said she will follow the team for the rest of the season.

"It was close last year, right down to the end," she said.

Nakenna Kemperly, a senior at Lapel High School, was recruited to body paint male students with the word "Dawgs".

"They recruited themselves," she said. "Wasn't hard to paint, just cold."

Kemperly said she has been to most of the games and was excited about the game.

"Hoping they go back to the state," she said.

Elvin Acre has been to most of the Lapel games.

"We followed them all last year because my son's girlfriend played on the team," he said. "I hope the game is not close and that Lapel wins."

Acre said he will follow the team for the rest of the season.

Lori Scott has attended most of the games this year.

"We followed them last year," she said. "My son teaches in Lapel, so we're long time Lapel fans.

"It will be a good game," Scott said. "This will probably be the best game of the tournament. We'll follow them to the end.

Bonnie Griffin came to Lapel to root for Eastbrook. A family member is a coach with the team.

"We were here last year and came out on the losing end," she said. "I've been to Lapel quite a few times."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.