Lakota West coach Sean Van Winkle with Rod Griffin. / Tony Tribble for The Enquirer
Mike Dyer reports:
Sunday’s Division I boys’ basketball sectional finals scheduled for Xavier University’s Cintas Center were postponed due to anticipated severe weather in the area and the doubleheader was rescheduled for Tuesday night at XU.
Lakota West plays Wilmington at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Fairfield vs. Withrow at 8 p.m.
The winners advance to Saturday’s district finals also scheduled at XU.
Haley Vorherr’s only field goal of the game Saturday afternoon at Mason High School did not give her team the lead or tie the score in Mason’s 55-54 comeback win over Greater Miami Conference rival Lakota West.
But it was big.
The senior guard drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:05 to play in the fourth quarter to pull her team to within one point, turning the tide one final time in a game of changing tides. Sophomore guard Jailyn Mason followed seconds later with a jumper in the lane to give the Comets the lead for good at 53-52.
“I’m a senior this year and I’m getting a lot more playing time than I have previous years, so yeah, that’s probably the biggest shot I’ve hit in a game,” Vorherr said. “It felt really great.”
Senior guard Jenna Gunn sealed the win with two free throws in the final 30 seconds.
The Comets (13-0, 9-0 GMC), ranked No. 1 in the Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, completed a regular-season sweep of No. 3 Lakota West. Mason beat the Firebirds (9-4, 4-4) in the first matchup, 45-39 in overtime, Dec. 4 at Lakota West.
Mason trailed the entire first half Saturday and Lakota West led by as many as nine. But the Comets surged to a 36-31 lead midway through the third quarter. The Firebirds used a 14-3 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to take a 49-43 lead with less than four minutes to play.
There were five lead changes and three ties in the second half and the Comets were behind 52-48 when Vorherr got the ball in the corner.
“We were running spread and everybody was just moving the ball around and I ended up in the corner,” Vorherr said. “I was going to pass into Lauren (Van Kleunen) in the post, but the girl doubled down on her. I think she knew what I was going to do, so I just shot.”
It was the only shot she made in only three attempts.
“I told her that is why we believe in our players,” Mason coach Rob Matula said. “She’s a senior who played JV as a junior and she has just worked unbelievably hard on her game. We have confidence in her. Just calm and cool in the corner, she loaded it up and knocked it down. It was huge.”
Lakota West’s boys’ basketball team upset host Mason 48-46 Friday night. Lakota West, ranked No. 3 in The Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll, overcame a 21-19 halftime deficit to hand No. 2 Mason (7-2, 3-2 Greater Miami Conference) its second consecutive loss.
Lakota West (7-1, 5-0) outscored Mason 29-25 in the second half. The Firebirds had three starters in double figures, led by Tyler Williams with 14 points.
Mason’s Spencer Cline also had 14 points off the bench.
Lakota East 59, Hamilton 58: Lakota East’s Dylan Lowry hit his only field goal, a runner in the lane with 1.1 seconds left, that secured a road win for the Thunderhawks.
Alex White led Lakota East with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Hamilton’s Christian Jones led all scorers with 22 points.
Lakota West’s Kim Adams(11) battles for a rebound during the Firebirds girls basketball game against Lakota East, Wednesday, Dec. 18,2013. (Tony Tribble for the Enquirer)
By Jeff Wallner, Enquirer contributor
Lakota West girls basketball coach Andy Fishman has waited for his team to deliver a complete performance through four quarters this season. On Wednesday night against neighborhood rival Lakota East, the Firebirds did just that.
Sophomore guard Danielle Wells scored 16 points leading Lakota West, ranked No. 3 in the Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, to a 70-38 victory over eighth-ranked Lakota East in a Greater Miami Conference matchup.
“We did a lot of things really well,” Fishman said. “Our girls were focused and ready to play. The defensive intensity was completely awesome.”
Sophomore guard Nia Staples scored 11 points and junior guard Lauren Cannatelli, a University of Dayton commit, added nine points for the Firebirds.
The Thunderhawks were led by junior guard Nia Thomas who scored 11 points. Junior guard Alecia Catron added nine points for East on three 3-pointers.
Lakota East committed 21 turnovers and West recorded 11 steals.
“We started out in a full-court press, then back to a half-court trap, tried different things,” Wells said. “They were a little out of sorts.”
A 3-pointer by Cannatelli, who’d averaged 16.3 points in the previous three games, started a 9-0 run, putting the Firebirds ahead 11-5.
Princeton’s # 33 Carlie Pogue and # 15 Jada Ballew try to slow down Lakota West’s #15 Elisabeth Carter but she slipped through. The Enquirer/ Tony Jones
By Jeff Wallner, Enquirer contributor
The challenge defensively for Princeton’s opponents this season is which Mitchell sister to focus on. Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell is an Ohio State University commit and two-time Enquirer player of the year. On Wednesday night it was hot perimeter shooting by her sister, Chelsea, which sparked a Vikings victory.
Chelsea Mitchell, also a Buckeyes commit, hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and Kelsey added a team-leading 24 points, lifting Princeton, ranked No. 1 in the Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll, to a 64-52 victory over No. 3 Lakota West in a clash of Greater Miami Conference powers.
“Chelsea’s been shooting the ball well lately. She’s confident in her shot,” said Vikings coach Jill Phillips. “We talked after the loss to Fairmont that we needed to be more balanced. There will be nights when Kelsey’s going to be off. It’s rare.”
Junior guard Lauren Cannatelli scored 17 points, and sophomore guard Nia Staples added 16 for the Firebirds.
The Vikings, who were coming off a 63-54 loss to defending Division I state champion Kettering Fairmont, looked sluggish early in Wednesday’s game.
A strong defensive effort by Cannatelli, a University of Dayton commit, made things tough early on for Kelsey Mitchell, who went scoreless in the first quarter while picking up two fouls.
Ronnie Murphy, a Lakota West class of 2015 third baseman/catcher, made the all-tournament team at the Perfect Game 2013 WWBA Underclass World Championship in Ft. Myers, FL (played between Oct. 11-14) while playing for Elite Baseball Club from Lexington, Ky.
Murphy went 6-for-11 with four doubles, seven RBIs, two walks and three stolen bases.
He was the only position player from Ohio to make the all-tournament team.
Pickerington Central defeated host Lakota West 38-28 in the Firebirds’ first-ever home playoff game Saturday night in a Division I, Region 2 football playoff game.
Horton, who is verbally committed to the University of Kentucky, rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns for the Firebirds. Horton said it wasn’t a “bad loss” but still felt the Firebirds should’ve won the game.
Despite the loss, Horton said he was proud of the season and the Greater Miami Conference championship. He said he will most remember the family atmosphere and the team chemistry.
Pickerington Central (8-2) advances to play Colerain (11-0) in a Division I, Region 2 second round game at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at a site to be determined. The Ohio High School Athletic Association plans to announce the sites of all 56 regional semifinal locations Sunday afternoon.
Lakota West coach Larry Cox said he was very proud of the season.
“The worst part that I have to do is I have to give up 34 seniors that I will never get to coach again,” Cox said. “And that’s really hard because this is a special group.”
Lakota West (9-2) hosted its first home playoff game in school history Saturday night in front of a festive atmosphere. The Firebirds made their fourth postseason appearance and the first since 2009. The Firebirds also made appearances in 2004 and ’06.
Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove lead Lakota West to an 8-0 start in 2012. File photo.
Mike Dyer reports:
The Lakota West football team will play its first-ever home playoff game Saturday night as the Firebirds host Pickerington Central in a Division I, Region 2 first round game.
“It’s real significant for the community,” said Lakota West coach Larry Cox, who has been the Firebirds coach since the school began in 1997. “They’re learning what it’s like to have a home playoff game.”
Lakota West is making its fourth postseason appearance in school history, but this is the first at home.
“The kids have earned this,” Cox said of hosting the first round game. ”You look at the schedule we’ve played and the successes we’ve had – they’e earned the right to have a home playoff game.”
Cox told The Enquirer at practice Friday afternoon he’s team is treating Saturday night like Week 11 and keeping a similar routine. Lakota West plans a walk through at the stadium at 930 a.m. Saturday.
“It’s real historic,” senior quarterback Malik Grove said. “I know coach Cox is real hyped up, everybody’s been hyped up, the school is hyped up – so hopefully we go out and execute tomorrow.”
Grove threw for over 1,100 yards this past regular season and rushed for over 700 yards. He is Lakota District’s all-time leading passer and has more wins than any other quarterback in Lakota history.
Mason’s Gary Zhao doesn’t have much big game experience. As a sophomore sub, Zhao doesn’t have much experience period. But Zhao had something that – at least in the overtime period of Saturday’s Division I regional semifinals – was even more important: fresh legs.
In a physical game in which both teams entered overtime thoroughly exhausted, Zhao came off the bench and used one of those fresh legs to boot the game-winning goal in the match’s 90th minute to propel the Comets past Lakota West, 2-1, and into the state semifinals.
Zhao’s goal – his fifth of the season – advances Mason (20-0-1) to face the winner of Powell Olentangy Liberty (16-3-1) and Dublin Coffman (16-2-2) in the state’s final four round. The game’s location will be announced Monday.
It’s Mason’s second-straight state semifinal berth – the first two in the program’s history.
Senior Jack Clark opened Saturday’s scoring in the 55th minute with a long, bouncing shot following a nifty piece of dribbling.
Even Lakota West coach Rick Cooper feared that might be all Mason needed considering the Rockets allowed only four goals total in 20 games this season.
But a scant five minutes later the Firebirds answered against that seemingly impenetrable defense when junior Christian Lytle netted a shot following a long throw-in by senior teammate Hunter Stiger.
“When (Jack Clark scored), I thought, ‘That could be it.’ Because Mason doesn’t give up goals,” Cooper said. “But we battled back pretty quickly. (Our players) have done that all year.”