LIBERTY TWP — The game of basketball can ebb and flow like the tide of the ocean.
One team can do nothing wrong on the court and seize the ebbing momentum, while the opposing team sits helplessly by waiting for the tide to flow back to them.
Friday night at Lakota East was no different.
The Hamilton Big Blue traveled into enemy waters and buoyed by a third quarter run built a 22-point lead. The Lakota East Thunderhawks were not deterred, they rode that massive wave and came back, but were unable to ride that wave out to victory falling 65-62.
“The word humbled comes to mind,” Lakota East coach Clint Adkins said. “Been talking about it all week, I’ve been around this game a long time and I knew it was coming. We’ve been reading our press clippings. Undefeated in the GMC. I knew it was coming.”
With a little over five minutes left in the third quarter Lakota East’s Nate Johnson had an opportunity to trim the Hamilton lead down to seven with a fast break dunk. But unfortunately the dunk didn’t go in and after a scramble for the ball, Big Blue’s Trey Robinson scored on the ensuing fast break sending the travelling Hamilton student section into a frenzy.
At that point, Big Blue held an 11-point lead that would quickly double before the quarter’s end. East trimmed that lead to 16 behind a late scoring barrage — setting up its fourth quarter comeback.
“They played a fabulous fourth quarter. We made some bad decisions but it doesn’t matter, you go on the road and play one of the top teams in the city in their place and get the win. We’ll take it,” Hamilton coach Kevin Higgins said. “I thought we defended well for three quarters. It’s hard to guard in transition. They’re really good and they just started making plays and it happens. We’ll take it. Were not giving it back.”
Behind the silky smoothe offense of Grant Spicer and the calm focused scoring of Bash Wieland, the Thunderhawks battled back from that 22-point deficit to pull to within three.
But the free throw line was the Thunderhawks’ undoing.
Forced to foul late in the game, the triumvirate of D’Marco Howard, Jaylen Robinson and Trey Robinson went five for six in the last minute to stave off any hopes for a Thunderhawk comeback.
“You can’t get down 22 to anybody good like that and expect to come back and win.” Adkins added.
Howard led Hamilton with 21 points, five boards and six assists. The Robinson brothers added 15 points and four rebounds from Trey and 10 points, three rebounds, and four assists from Jaylen.
Wieland put up 27 points with five rebounds, and Spicer added 12 fourth-quarter points to go along with five rebounds.
Hamilton escapes with a 7-4 overall record and a 4-3 record in conference play. Lakota East falls to an 8-3 overall record and a 6-1 record in conference play.
The Big Blue take on Fairfield on Jan. 15 at home, while Lakota East has Oak Hills at home that same night.