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.
Four different running backs accounted for eight of Lakota West’s nine touchdowns with the ninth touchdown coming from a kickoff return.
Running backs Mikel Horton, Malik Grove, Kole Gentry and Blake Darland all scored two touchdowns. The group was led by Grove who rushed 11 times for 173 yards. Horton led the team in rush attempts, running 16 times for 137 yards.
Lakota West was able to double the totals yards of Princeton–544 to 268–despite the fact that the time of possesion was even at 24 minutes each.
Lakota West (7-1) will face Oak Hills (5-3) Friday Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove leads the GMC with 611 yards passing. / Enquirer file photo
Kevin Kelly reports:
Sycamore (4-0, GMC 1-0) at Lakota West (3-1, 1-0) When: 7:30 p.m. today
What to watch: This game is the most anticipated on the Greater Miami Conference schedule so far.
The Aviators allow just 6.5 points per game, and coach Scott Dattilo said his players read their assignments well in a 33-5 win over visiting Middletown last week. Dattilo said he wants to correct two fumbles and some holding penalties from last week. Senior quarterback Greg Simpson rushed for a season-high 178 yards and scored two touchdowns against the Middies.
Lakota West has won three consecutive games since it lost to Winton Woods in overtime in the opener. Senior Malik Grove leads the GMC with 611 yards passing.
“We keep improving,” Lakota West coach Larry Cox said. “I think the kids are doing a good job right now.”
Sycamore leads the all-time series between the schools 8-3, according to Lakota District historian Bob Ashby.
Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove lead Lakota West to an 8-0 start in 2012. However, the Firebirds lost their last two games of the season and missed the postseason. File photo.
Mike Dyer reports:
Malik Grove understands pressure-packed situations. He should know.
The Lakota West quarterback has experienced plenty as a high school athlete.
As a freshman, Grove bowled a 300 game.
He has also played key roles on the basketball and track teams.
Grove bowled a 300 game Dec. 8, 2010, against Taylor at Fairfield Lanes.
He focused on basketball last season and plans to do so this upcoming year.
In an age of specialization, Grove says he likes playing as much as he can.
If he does football, basketball and track this season as expected, he said he will have 10 varsity letters.
“It’s funny his sophomore year – we were playing East – it basically came down to the last play of the game,” Lakota West football head coach Larry Cox said.
“I remember calling timeout – I already had the play in my mind what we were going to do. And he came running over and I said, ‘what do you think?’ He said the same play that I was going to call and I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, that’s what this position is all about, don’t you love the pressure and everything?’
“He said, ‘Coach this ain’t pressure. Roll 11 straight strikes and having the entire bowling alley standing behind looking at you and you have to throw a perfect ball. That’s more pressure than this.’ He went and throws the touchdown pass and we win.” (more…)
Lakota East senior-to-be Bobby Brown could get more touches in 2013, after lining up at wide receiver and H-back in 2012. Sensing that, Ohio and Kent State have already offered scholarships. Photo taken by Barb Trimble of TrimPhotoAndVideo.com.
Lakota West quarterback Malik Grove and Lakota East athlete Bobby Brown recently received offers to play football in college. Meanwhile, Lakota West guard Tyler Williams verbally committed to Brown earlier this week.
Grove, who will be a senior this fall and received an offer to Georgetown College, has a 10-3 record as a starting quarterback at West. In 2013, Grove was named first-team all-GMC and scored a combined 22 touchdowns (11 passing and 11 rushing). Grove is listed as 5-foot-10, 175 pounds.
Brown, who will also be a senior, recently received an offer from Ohio. Kent State also offered Brown, who rushed for 357 yards and caught eight passes for 142 yards in 2013. Last season, Brown was listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds.
Williams, an Enquirer Division I honorable mention selection last season, averaged 11.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals for the Firebirds last season. He was first-team all-Greater Miami Conference. Brown University offered Williams in late April. He also had offers from Miami University, Bucknell and Kennesaw State, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Mike Dyer.
It may been a line from the movie “Bad Boys” that saved Lakota West’s season.
With the game and the Firebirds’ season on the line, junior guard Malik Grove converted all 6 of his free-throw attempts in the final quarter en route to a 46-42 win against Sycamore in the Division I sectional semifinals at Hamilton High School Tuesday night.
“I just wanted to block everything out,” Grove said of his late-game foul shots.
“When there is a lot of pressure on you, you just say ‘woosaa.’”
Until now, Grove thought his dad, Jerry, had just made up the phrase, which is spelled w-o-o-s-a-a, according IMDB.com. He didn’t know that Jerry learned the phrase from Martin Lawrence’s character from “Bad Boys” and then taught it to Malik when he was about 6 or 7 years old. Oddly, over the years, the phrase has become a way of meditation for the family.
Woosaa, it worked.
If that phrase didn’t work for Grove then it had to be message his senior teammate Ali Barnes delivered at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Trailing by 8 points, 33-25, in what was a low-scoring affair, Barnes walked to the Lakota West bench and yelled at his teammates, “We are going to win this game!”
“I am a really motivated person and I get really emotional, especially since this could have been my last high school game,” said Barnes, who scored six of his 12 points in the 4th quarter.
“I said what I had to say and it obviously worked.”
Grove, who scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, admitted after the game that he was “pumped up” by Barnes’ message before the final quarter.
“You don’t want it to be the seniors’ last game,” Grove said.
For Sycamore, it was the last game for its seniors Nick Setser, Joey Gruden, Isaiah Brown and Mason Morgan. The 6-foot-6 Morgan, who signed to play tight end at Ohio University, led the Aves with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Gruden scored 9 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“It was a huge game, a GMC game, one of those really physical games,” Gruden said. “It was a tough loss.”
In the regular season, Sycamore and Lakota West were part of a four-way tie (along with Fairfield and Middletown) for first place in the Greater Miami Conference. It was the first in the 47-year history of the conference that four boys’ basketball teams finished the regular season in a tie for the GMC title.
Lakota West (16-7) - Barnes 6 0 12, Bowling 2 1 5, Williams 1 2 4, Thomas 1 0 2, Moo Young 1 0 2, Grove 5 6 19. Totals 17 9 46.
Halftime: Sycamore 21-17. 3-pointers S 1 (Gruden); L 3 (Grove 3).
Lakota West will play Walnut Hills Friday in the sectional final at the University of Cincinnati at 8:30 p.m.
Walnut Hills 78, Woodward 43
Walnut Hills cruised to 78-43 win against Woodward in the Division I sectional semifinals at Hamilton High School Tuesday night.
Isaiah Johnson, who is committed to play college basketball at Akron, led the Eagles to a 40-13 lead at halftime. In the first half, the 6-foot-9 center scored 12 points and pulled down 5 rebounds. With the large lead, Johnson didn’t play in the second half.
Senior teammates Khari Burton and Dontonio Wingfield, who is committed to play at Ohio, combined for 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. Burton and Wingfield only played a few minutes each in the second half.
Walnut Hills (23-1) - Jones 2 0 4, Brown 0 1 1, Burton 4 0 9, Wingfield 4 0 8, Myaka 4 0 9, Irby 1 0 3, Austin 1 0 2, Banks 1 0 2, Williams 2 2 8, Johnson 6 0 12, Jackson 1 1 3, Carter 1 5 7, Akanbi 2 1 5, Gilmore 1 3 5. Totals 30 13 78.
Woodward (5-16) - Watkins 2 0 4, Williams 1 0 2, A. Mincey 2 3 8, Connell 1 0 2, Harrington 3 2 10, R. Mincey 2 0 4, Vines 1 0 2, Johnson 3 1 7, Carter 1 2 4. Totals 16 8 43.
Lakota West completed an impressive weekend of work by beating Withrow 69-56 Monday night in the championship game of the inaugural LaRosa’s Royal 8 Hardwood Classic at Fairfield.
Lakota West junior Malik Grove led Lakota West with 21 points in a 69-56 win against Withrow in the championship game of the inaugural LaRosa’s Royal 8 Hardwood Classic at Fairfield Jan. 21, 2013. Photo taken at an earlier game this season against Lakota East Jan. 8, 2013 by Joseph Fuqua II.
The Firebirds, unranked in last week’s Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll, got 49 points from the guard trio of Ali Barnes, Tyler Williams and Malik Grove to hand the No. 4 Tigers just their second loss in 14 games this season.
Lakota West beat No. 3 St. Xavier 55-50 in Sunday’s semifinals. The Firebirds have now won six straight games to improve to 10-4 on the season.
The three guards took turns as leading scorers in the three-game tournament; Williams had 22 against Anderson on Saturday, Barnes had 18 against St. Xavier and Grove had 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting against Withrow.
Barnes was named the Player of the Game Monday as he had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Williams added 11 points and seven assists.
“When we’re rolling like that we’re the best team in the city,” said Barnes. “When us three guards are playing like that and we’re together everyone is knocking down shots. When we’re knocking down shots it opens up the inside game for people like Tyler Bowling and Justin (Martin) and Zach Moo Young.”
Bowling, a 6-foot-8 junior center, scored 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Firebirds won the battle of the boards 43-35. Withrow had 21 offensive rebounds with 18 second-chance points against Fairfield in the semifinals but had just six second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds Monday.
“We knew they were going to come out and be overly-aggressive and attack the boards after every missed shot so we had everybody crashing the boards,” said Bowling, who had his fifth double-figuring rebounding game of the season. “We knew that’s what we needed to do to win.”
Monday was the fourth game in four days for Withrow. The Tigers beat Woodward in a Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference game Friday night before beating Turpin and No. 7 Fairfield to reach the final.
The teams were tied, 12-12, at the end of the first quarter but Lakota West outscored Withrow 17-9 over the final 5:28 of the second quarter to take control. Grove had 10 points during that run, including two 3-pointers and a spinning baseline jumper two seconds before halftime to give the Firebirds a 35-25 lead.
Withrow never got closer than six points in the second half.
“No excuses but we were dog tired,” said Withrow coach Ty Gibert. “West played lights out tonight and they’re playing great ball. I’m not taking anything away from them. They beat us but we were dog tired. We ran into a buzz saw tonight.”
Senior guard Corey Wise scored 24 points to lead the Tigers, while senior guard Timothy Coleman added 14.
Withrow shot just 38.7 percent (24 of 62) from the field overall and made just four of its 22 attempts from 3-point range. The Tigers went to the free throw line just six times, making four of their attempts.
Lakota West held St. Xavier to 21-of-61 (34.4 percent) shooting in the semifinals, utilizing an aggressive zone in both games.
“We were really trying to protect and cover up Coleman as much as we could,” said Lakota West coach Sean Van Winkle. “He got some shots off but they weren’t on the 3-point line, they were about 25-feet out. The guys did a great job with the scouting report the last two games with that in mind.”
Withrow and Lakota West won semifinal games Sunday night to reach the championship game of the inaugural LaRosa’s Royal 8 Hardwood Classic at Fairfield. Both teams can thank their plethora of guards for getting them there.
Lakota West senior guard Ali Barnes scored 18 points in a 55-50 win against St. Xavier Sunday night. Photo taken at an earlier game this season, against Lakota East on Jan. 8, 2013 by Joseph Fuqua II.
Lakota West outscored St. Xavier 9-4 over the final 2:05 to knock off the No. 3-ranked team in the Enquirer’s Division I coaches’ poll 55-50 in the first semifinal. The unranked Firebirds improved to 9-4 with their fifth consecutive win as guards Ali Barnes, Malik Grove and Tyler Williams all scored in double figures.
Fourth-ranked Withrow harassed No. 7 and host team Fairfield into 16 turnovers, holding the Indians to 17 points in the second half, en route to a 52-41 victory in the second semifinal. The Tigers improved to 12-1 on the season behind 17 points and eight rebounds – six on the offensive glass – by senior guard Corey Wise.
Tip-off for Monday’s championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. St. Xavier (10-3) and Fairfield (9-5) will play for third place at 6 p.m.
Fairfield had a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-6 lead and led 16-10 with 1:39 remaining in the quarter but Withrow’s defense allowed just 25 points the final 25-plus minutes of the game.
“I don’t always know about these guys but I know they’re always going to play hard and they don’t want to lose,” said Withrow coach Ty Gilbert. “Nothing fazes them. We were down 16-10 and they’re telling me in the huddle ‘Calm down, coach. We’re good.’ They calmed me down.”
The Tigers out-rebounded Fairfield 30-24, including grabbing 21 offensive rebounds. They outscored Fairfield 18-8 in second-chance points.
“They kept us at bay by the glass,” said Fairfield coach Tim Austing. “Every time we got a big stop and could make a run they’d get a stick-back. So much of what we do is transition but if you’re not getting rebounds you can’t run the (fast) break.”
Wise made all seven of his free throws before fouling out going for a steal with 3:09 remaining in the game. He had just one rebound in Saturday’s first-round win against Turpin.
“I let him know that,” said Gilbert. “He always plays good defense but today he rebounded the basketball.”
Timothy Coleman added 11 points for Withrow, while forward Darius Cannon had 10 points and six rebounds.
Fairfield was led by guard Herman Brunis’ 17 points and guard T.C. Wells’ 11 points and seven rebounds.
Lakota West didn’t trail against St. Xavier until the fourth quarter. Barnes, a senior, scored 18 points, including hitting 9 of 10 free throws, and added six assists against just one turnover for Lakota West.
The Firebirds shot 52.9 percent from the field, making 18 of 34 shots. Conversely, St. Xavier struggled from the field. The Bombers were just 21 of 61 shooting overall, including making just six of their 26 3-point attempts.
Senior guard Ben Carroll led St. Xavier with 14 points but he had just two points in the second half.
“We just didn’t hit enough shots,” said St. Xavier coach Scott Martin. “We only had three turnovers, so we took care of it and got a lot of good shots but the last couple of games we’ve lost our shooting touch.”
The Firebirds have dealt with injuries to some of their top players this season, including losing guard Monty Boykins to an ACL injury, but have begun to find their groove.
“It helps to have the depth we have and we’re definitely figuring out who can play late in the game, early in the game,” said Barnes.
Grove had 13 points, while Williams scored 12 points, including three 3-pointers.
Lakota West out-rebounded St. Xavier 30-29 despite being at a height and weight disadvantage inside. Junior center Tyler Bowling grabbed eight rebounds, including seven on the defensive end where Lakota West held a 26-15 advantage.
Lakota West 55, St. Xavier 50
Lakota West (9-4)- Barnes 4 9 18, Bowling 2 0 4, Williams 3 3 12, Peterkin 2 0 4, Grove 5 1 13, Martin 2 0 4. Totals: 18 13 55.
Junior guard Tyler Williams scored 22 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:16 left in regulation, as Lakota West outlasted Anderson 73-65 Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the LaRosa’s Royal 8 Hardwood Classic.
Lakota West junior Tyler Williams, who already has offers from Miami and Kennesaw State, led Lakota West with 22 points in a win against Anderson Jan. 20, 2013. Photo during a game in 2012 by Jeff Swinger.
Junior Malik Grove added 19 points, including making all eight of his free throw attempts as Lakota West won its fourth game in a row to improve to 8-4.
Lakota West advances to face St. Xavier, ranked No. 3 in the Enquirer Division I coaches’ poll, in Sunday’s semifinal. The game will take place at 6 p.m. A win puts West in the championship game at 8 p.m. on Monday, and a loss would put West in the third-place game at 6 p.m. All games will be played at Fairfield.
Anderson (7-6) will face Elder in a consolation bracket game. The Redskins had four players in double figures, led by senior guard Charlie Carroll’s 21 points. Senior center Joe Cossins had 17 points, senior forward Bobby Murdock had 12 points and senior guard Dane Stevlingson had 11 points.
The game featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes. A basket by Murdock with 2:34 left tied the score, 60-60.
Williams’ third 3-pointer of the game gave Lakota West the lead for good.
He followed that up with a steal. He would miss the layup on the other end but Grove grabbed the rebound and was fouled on his put-back attempt. His two free throws gave the Firebirds a five-point lead. Anderson never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
“That’s when the game slows down and you have to be ready to make a play,” said Williams. “My teammates gave a good pass and I was able to hit the shot.”
Williams came into the game averaging 9.8 points. He had played in just five games because of an ankle injury suffered in the season-opener against Talawanda. He re-injured the ankle on the layup attempt. Lakota West lost senior guard Monty Boykins to a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 28.
“We’ve gotten past the loss of Monty,” said Lakota West coach Sean Van Winkle. “I was really proud of our guys because we had a season-high 18 assists (on 24 field goals). Our guys played good team ball.”
Anderson, which beat Glen Este 62-50 Friday night, led 34-32 at halftime and held a 42-36 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Lakota West used an 11-2 run to erase that deficit and eventually take a 51-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
Anderson regained the lead 53-51 and held its last advantage at 56-55.
“If we make one or two more plays we win but they’re the ones who made those plays,” said Anderson coach Frank Brandy. “We did a lot of good things and this is something to build on.”
Both teams shot well from the free throw line; Lakota West made 20 of 23 attempts, while Anderson made 15 of 17.