After reaching the elite eight at the state tournament last season, Lakota East’s eight-member senior class had high expectations for the 2011-2012 season. However, due to injuries and an early postseason exit, those expectations were not fulfilled.
This past Saturday, Lakota East was upset by Hamilton by the score of 51-39. In the regular season, the Thunderhawks defeated Hamilton twice by a combined 41 points. In the postseason loss, a short-handed Lakota East team was outscored 32-15 in the second half.
Due to injuries, the Thunderhawks have been short handed all season. Senior Whitney Wyckoff (Yale University signee), who led Lakota East in scoring in each of the last three seasons was lost for the year with a knee injury just four games in. In addition to Wyckoff, senior forward Tazzie Shaw (Marshall University signee) missed most of the year after suffering a concussion in the team’s second game of the season.
Overall, the Thunderhawks finished the 2011-2012 season with a 13-8 record and a 9-5 mark within the Greater Miami Conference.
Despite the solid record, the squad’s greatest accomplishment may have come over the last three winters when the basketball program produced a total of 45 wins. In the prior 12 seasons, Lakota East won only 54 games.
Four players of this year’s eight-member senior class remember when their team was pleased to finish 5-17 in 2009 during their freshman year.
“Before we came here and entering the ninth grade, it seemed like they (the players) were ok with losing,” senior Aleth Pashi said at the start of the season. “There are four of us now on varsity since our freshman year and it is not acceptable anymore. Anything less than success is unacceptable.”
Pashi and her fellow seniors Molly Blomer (Nova Southeastern University commit), Alyssa Grevenkamp (University of Findlay signee) and Wyckoff all started as freshman that season, one year after Lakota East finished 1-20.
“It was kind of like, ‘we know we aren’t going to win so why try?’ Now, it is like, ‘we better win and if we don’t than it is a disaster,’” said Wyckoff at the start of the year.
During Senior Day, earlier this month, the group of seniors who helped change the program were recognized for their contributions and sacrifices.
“It’s been an amazing run the past several years with our seniors,” Lakota East head coach Nikki Drew said. “They have set an example of what hard work and togetherness can accomplish. I am just lucky to have been along for the ride.”
In addition to the four-year letter winners (Blomer, Pashi, Wyckoff, Grevenkamp), Shaw, Bernice Satterwhite, Aaliyah Thomas and Melanie Browne had their high school careers end Saturday.