Girls Basketball

Lakota West takes care of Talawanda

Lakota West freshman Chance Gray scored a game-high 24 points in the Firebirds' win over Talawanda on Tuesday. CHRIS VOGT/

LIBERTY TWP. — The Lakota West High girls basketball team didn’t hesitate to take the long-distance shots on Wednesday. 

The looks were there, and the Firebirds weren’t passing them up.

Freshman Chance Gray scored a game-high 24 points, and No. 3 state ranked Lakota West fired 63-percent from the floor on the way to a lopsided 85-19 victory over Talawanda in a Division I sectional opener at Lakota East.

“I feel like we were very unselfish in moving the ball, passing the ball and sharing the ball,” Firebirds coach Andy Fishman said. “We were ultimately getting really good looks. As a team, we shot really well from 3-point range and typically that means you have a lot of assisted plays. It wasn’t just one person either.”

No. 2 seed Lakota West, which shot 62-percent (13 of 21) from behind the arc on Wednesday, plays Withrow (5-12) on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakota East.

Talawanda, which was the No. 31 seed, finished a tough season at 2-21.

“I thought we were getting better as the season went on,” said Brave coach Mary Jo Huismann, who is two wins away from 700 career coaching victories. “But I think we always kept reverting back. But our speed got better as the season progressed. It got a lot better.

“These girls worked hard. They really tried,” Huismann added. “There never was a day where they didn’t work hard and really go after it. We just had a hard time transferring that over into games.”

Lakota West moved out to a 28-7 first-quarter lead, using a full-court press on defense and consistent ball control on offense. 

Gray sparked a scoring spree from beyond the 3-point line in a first half that saw the Firebirds hit 7 of 12 in the opening 16 minutes.

“Going in, we knew we had to concentrate of making sure we get better,” Lakota West sophomore Kailyn Dudukovich said. “We looked at this as an opportunity to work on our plays and keep our fundamentals working.”

Jessica Clark finished with 11 points, while Nevaeh Dean had 10 and Dudukovich had eight for the Firebirds.

Leading the way for Talawanda was Sophie Pohlabel, who scored a team-high 12 points. 

Talawanda 7 7 4 1 — 19 

Lakota West 28 24 16 17 — 85

Talawanda (2-21) — Motta 0 1 1; Koontz 0 3 3; Je. Tegge 1 0 3; Pohlabel 6 0 12. Totals: 7 4 19

Lakota West (21-2) — Gales 2 0 5; Henderson 3 0 7; Gray 9 0 24; Benning 1 0 2; Flores 2 0 4; Camp 2 2 6; Abribat 2 0 6; Clark 4 0 11; Dudukovich 4 0 8; Dean 3 4 10; Brockman 1 0 2. Totals: 33 6 85

Three-point FGs: T (1) — Tegge; LW (13) — Gales 1, Henderson 1, Gray 6, Abribat 2, Clark 3

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