WEST CHESTER, Ohio — #2 Lakota East (20-2, 15-1) entered their first round game riding an 11-game winning streak and their first order of business was #27 Kings (5-17, 3-11). The Knights had a shaky finish to their regular season after falling to each of their last three opponents but were still aiming to pull off the massive upset. The two mixed it up just moments ago with the winner set to take on #28 Northwest (7-15, 5-7) in the next round on Thursday at 6PM.
The first quarter was a frame of runs as the Thunderhawks got out to a quick 5-0 lead. Kings senior guard Dylan Barnett quickly answered the run by burying consecutive corner triples to give the Knights an early lead. However, Lakota East was able to end the frame with eight straight points as junior guard Nate Johnson knocked down a couple of threes and senior big Alex Mangold ended the quarter with an interior bucket to put the Thunderhawks ahead of Kings by a count of 13-6.
The Knights struggled to get things going on the offensive end for the entirety of the first half as they added just four points in the second stanza. Meanwhile, Lakota East was able to get another nice performance from Johnson who added eight more points to the scoring column to push him to 14 points in the first half. Mangold added a few scores inside and the Thunderhawks headed to the break with a 22-point lead over Kings.
Coming out of the break, Lakota East got some production for a handful of guys in the third. It was the aforementioned Mangold and senior guard Jared McCorkle who pitched in a couple of scores a piece. While defensively, the only gave up six points in the frame. The Thunderhawks would enter the final eight minutes of play with a 46-16 lead over the Knights. The Knights had their best quarter of the night in the fourth as they scored 12 points. However, Lakota East comfortably walked away with the victory, 55-28.
Thunderhawks’ Nate Johnson led all scorers with his 14 points that all came in the first half. Alex Mangold was the only other Lakota East player to reach double figures in the scoring column as he finished with 10 points.For the Kings, both senior guards Dylan Barnett and Jack McHugh finished with eight points a piece in their final games to lead the Knights.
With the win, Lakota East will tangle with the Knights of Northwest for the chance to keep their state championship hopes alive.