Mike Dyer reports:
Lakota West boys’ basketball coach Sean Van Winkle and Lakota East coach Wally Vickers believe their teams still haven’t played their best basketball yet.
That fact alone makes tonight’s rivalry game at East even more intriguing considering it was a two-point Lakota West win (45-43) just a few weeks ago (Dec. 20).
“When East and West play it’s usually a pretty tight game,” Van Winkle said Monday afternoon.
Lakota West (7-1 overall, 5-0 Greater Miami Conference) has won three straight games since a three-point loss at Elder Dec. 17. The Firebirds are ranked No. 2 in The Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll.
Senior guards Malik Grove (14.9 points per game) and Tyler Williams (13.4 ppg.) are among the statistical leaders for the Firebirds.
Van Winkle would like to see improvement on the offensive end especially a greater number of assists. He said the half-court defense has played well.
“I think they have the best starting five in the league one through five,” Vickers said.
The Thunderhawks are ranked No. 9 in The Enquirer poll and Vickers wants to see more consistency from his squad going forward. Junior guard Alex White had 13 points in a 59-58 win over Hamilton Jan. 3. Junior guard Dylan Lowry averages 16.3 points. Bench production was key also on Friday.
Lakota East (7-4, 3-2) has won two straight games this season.
Vickers and Van Winkle also understand the importance of the game to the community.
“It’s always a fun game,” Vickers said. “The kids love it.”