HAWKS EARN 4TH DISTRICT TITLE! SET NEW ALL-TIME WIN RECORD!
The Thunderhawk boys earned their programs 4th District Championship on Sunday with a tense 33-32 win over the Beavers of Beavercreek. Senior Alex Mangold grabbed a missed three-pointer with time running out and then sunk two free throws with 1.6 seconds earning East’s second consecutive district title. East has now won district championships in 2011, 2016, 2019 and 2020.
It looked like the Hawks season might come to an end after the Beavers rallied from behind in the final minutes. The Thunderhawks led 31-27 with under three minutes to go, but missed four free throws in the final 1:34 and allowed double-digit offensive rebounds.
After Mangold’s heroics, Beavercreek inbounded the ball and got off a mid-court last-second heave that just missed. And that was it…the Hawks survived to play another day.
Junior standout, Nate Johnson, answered the call for the East offense on Sunday. The junior scored his team’s first 11 points and totaled a game-high 16 to pace a Lakota East offense that was held under the 40-point mark for just the second time all season.
Johnson, who is Lakota East’s leading scorer at 17 points per game, made his team’s first field goal of the contest with 2:33 left in the first quarter, a stanza where the Greater Miami Conference champions had more turnovers (6) than shot attempts (5) and each team traded turns running into a brick wall.
Johnson opened the second frame with a steal and a breakaway dunk, electrifying a drowsy crowd that had witnessed only six combined points through the first eight minutes. Two minutes later, Johnson drove strong to the hoop for an “and-1” that stretched Lakota East’s lead to five.
Lakota East also received a spark from sophomore Jadon Coles, who went on a personal 5-0 run with the game’s only 3-pointer and a put-back off a missed shot that gave the Thunderhawks their biggest lead of the night at 16-10.
East’s win on Sunday set a new all-time record for total wins in a season (24-2), eclipsing the 23-2 mark that was set by the 2010-11 Thunderhawks. The East boys have won 15 straight since a loss at Oak Hills on Jan. 7th.
With its regional tournament ticket punched for the second straight season, Lakota East will play La Salle (who defeated St. Xavier) in the Regional Semi-Final this Wednesday at Cintas Center at 8:00 pm
The winner will advance to the Regional Final against either defending State Champion Moeller or Centerville who defeated Lakota West. The Regional Final will be back at Cintas on Saturday, March 14th at 7:30 pm.