Boys Basketball

Lakota East takes on Fairmont in district final at UD Arena

Lakota East sophomore Nate Johnson drives to the hoop against Hamilton earlier this season. AJ FULLAM/

LIBERTY TWP. — Earlier this season, Lakota East coach Clint Adkins was asked if a loss was a good thing. 

“I think teenage boys learn much more from failure,” he said.

That assertion was indicative in the Thunderhawks’ 52-43 sectional final victory over Princeton on Friday. They exercised demons that had possessed the ‘Hawks from last season’s abrupt conclusion in the tournament at the hands of the Vikings.

Classes are over though, finals are here, and it’s time for the Thunderhawks to display what they have learned.

Up next for Lakota East is Kettering Fairmont in a Division I district final on Saturday at 7 p.m. at University of Dayton Arena.

The Firebirds come into this tourney matchup having won three straight to stay alive — most recently beating Wayne 51-43 on Monday.

Fairmont holds a 17-8 record and is led by senior guards Ryan Hall and Kellan Bochenek, who average 17.7 and 15.7 points a game respectively.

The Thunderhawks (19-5) counter with senior Bash Wieland and his Greater Miami Conference leading 19.5 points a game. 

“We’ve battled adversity, and it’s just awesome to see how far this group has come,” Wieland said after the Thunderhawks’ victory over the Vikings. 

“He does it everyday in practice,” Adkins added of Wieland, a Bellermine University signee.

Wieland is the go-to guy for East, but Grant Spicer is the straw that stirs the drink. Averaging 7.2 points and five rebounds a game, Spicer does the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. 

“Spice is our glue guy,” Adkins said. “Bash is our best player, but Grant Spicer might be our most important player because he’s so smart offensively and he’s always in position defensively.”

Thunderhawks sophomore guard Nate Johnson handles the rock. His steadily improved play from the beginning of the season, mixed with his extreme athleticism, has the ‘Hawks clicking on all cylinders. 

“He’s playing now like we always knew he could play,” Adkins said of Johnson. “We’re such a better team when Nate Johnson is engaged and playing like he has.”

The Thunderhawks second leading scorer is the sharpshooting Will Johnston, who averages 10.7 a game and on any given night can double that with his long range touch.

The winner of this one plays the winner of Moeller and Winton Woods in a regional semifinal on Wednesday, March 13 at 6:15 p.m. at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.

Follow on Twitter @JacobBCHSS.

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