High school basketball: Pham, Blount lead Lakota East girls to sectional win over Talawanda

MIDDLETOWN — Celina Blount took a transition pass with no defender in sight and was ready to lay one in midway through the third quarter.

“Dunk it!” some of her Lakota East teammates hollered from the bench. The senior made the bucket and laughed all the way back down the court.

Blount scored 13 points, Katlyn Pham added a game-high 14 and the 10th seeded Thunderhawks ran past the No. 22 Talawanda Brave 64-22 in a Division I sectional contest Thursday night at Middletown’s Wade E. Miller Arena.

“I’ve been able to grab the rim in practice, but I haven’t been able to actually dunk it,” said Blount, a 6-foot-2 College of Charleston commit. “They think it’s so funny to yell it all the time. But I think Katlyn Pham has a better chance of dunking it than me.”

Pham, a 5-foot-5 junior guard, had her second-best offensive performance in a Lakota East uniform and fired 5 of 7 from the field.

The Thunderhawks (15-8) led 21-2 after one quarter, extended the margin to 41-9 at the halftime break and shutout the Brave 12-0 in the fourth period.

Lakota East, which faces Winton Woods on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Middletown, hadn’t played a game in 12 days until Thursday.

“Some coaches won’t take the bye, and I’ve been taking byes my whole coaching career,” Lakota East coach Dan Wallace said. “Not a big fan of playing games you don’t have to play and understanding that any opponent can get under your bracket anytime they want to.

“I thought it was really good for our kids,” Wallace added. “We lost a little bit of rhythm, so we kept our starters out there to get that rhythm back. We were able to get some tournament experience in for everybody and play the young kids.

“Talawanda’s coaches know what they’re doing. There’s still some good stuff going on over there that you have to work on and plan for. I told my kids that we have to prep for everybody at this point. So I was really proud of their mindset. We came out guns blazing and got going quickly.”

McKenna Weekley scored a team-high 11 points, including three 3-point buckets, to lead the Brave. Talawanda (9-14) graduates seniors Rose Bothast-Revalee and Weekley.

“Even as the game got ugly, we battled back,” Brave assistant coach DeAndre Williams said. “Our girls came out in the third quarter super strong — super aggressive. They took their shots.

“The fact that I could put freshmen into the game that started JV and trust them to make plays, that’s something that you feel really good about as we move forward to next year.”

Boys Basketball


FAIRFIELD — Bryce Curry scored 13 points, and Isaiah Meade-Moss and LJ Green added 12 apiece to lead No. 10 Lakota West past No. 29 West Clermont in a Division I sectional opener on Thursday night.

The Firebirds (15-7) advance to face Princeton on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfield. The Wolves finished the season at 7-16.


WEST CHESTER TWP. — Isaac Nunn scored 10 points, Keithen Castator and Peyton Hendricks added eight apiece, and No. 27 Ross fell to No. 14 Princeton in a Division I sectional opener on Thursday night.

The Vikings (13-10) play Lakota West on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfield. The Rams (8-15) graduate seniors Riley Caldwell, Nunn and Castator.


FAIRFIELD — Cale Leitch scored a game-high 21 points in No. 33 Talawanda’s Division I sectional loss to No. 1 Moeller on Thursday night.

The Brave (2-21) also had offensive contributions Bryce James (8) and Sam Lippman (7). James was the only senior on Talawanda’s roster this season.


SHARONVILLE — No. 3 Winton Woods moved out to a 21-4 first-quarter lead and was able to hold on for the Division I sectional victory over No. 30 Edgewood on Thursday night.

The Cougars (6-17) graduate seniors Jaylen Berry, Mason Stover, Brayden Smith, Eddie Thompson, Jon Rosenbalm and Connor Ballantyne. The Warriors (18-3) play Turpin on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. at Princeton.


VANDALIA — No. 6 Fairmont marched back from a 10-point halftime deficit to knock off No. 15 Monroe in a Division I sectional opener on Thursday night.

The Hornets (10-13) graduate seniors Alex Zolman and Evan Braun. Fairmont (14-9) faces Stebbins on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Vandalia Butler.

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