Freshman has career night as West beats East

WEST CHESTER TWP. — Josh Tyson ripped the leash off Friday night.

The Lakota West High School freshman couldn’t have picked a better time do it, dazzling a standing room-only home crowd against the Firebirds’ crosstown rival.

Tyson scored a career-high 21 points — connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts — and Lakota West outplayed Lakota East in the second half to secure a 56-46 Greater Miami Conference victory.

“I felt like our energy was struggling a little bit in the first half,” said Tyson, a 6-foot-2 guard who did all of his work in 18 minutes off the bench. “With me subbing in, I have to bring it.”

Tyson hit his first 3-pointer on a step-back near the top of the key to get him going. He scored six of his points in the first half and did the rest in the final two quarters.

“When I made that 3, I just kept it rolling,” Tyson said.

Lakota East led 21-16 at the break, but Lakota West (6-3, 4-2 GMC) used an aggressive transition offense to pull away down the stretch and snap the Thunderhawks’ seven-game winning streak.

Lakota East senior Trey Perry, who leads the GMC with 23.7 points a game, was held to just 12. Firebird seniors Isaiah Tyson and Bryson Curry did most of the guarding.

“I’m so proud of these dudes,” Lakota West first-year coach Kelven Moss said. “They’ve got a stud player in Trey Perry over there. Our goal tonight was to just slow that guy down. Our guys came in and followed the game plan to a T.

“We’ve had some peaks and valleys. We’re growing up. There were a couple of moments at the end of the game where they had my heart going for a bit, but they stayed connected.”

Seniors Bayze Weiland and Derek Jackson scored nine points apiece to pace the Thunderhawks (7-3, 4-2 GMC), who outrebounded the Firebirds 20-14 but lost the turnover battle 15-8.

“We opened up the season with two losses, but won seven in a row,” Lakota East coach Clint Adkins said. “I stressed to the guys that we have to stay humble — or be humbled. Tonight, we were humbled.

“We prepared great and had some great practices, so I was shocked at how we played. We were delayed in our execution, especially on the offensive side. We had 15 turnovers. West is really good in transition, and they’ll make you pay for that.”

OFF THE BENCH

The Lakota West bench scored 31 of the team’s points, with most of them coming from Tyson.

Alex Dudukovich scored six points, and Isaiah Meade-Moss chipped in with four off the bench. Hakeem Smith had eight points.

“We’ve got a young and resilient team,” Moss said. “I love what our senior backcourt is doing right now. But I tell them all when they’re out there — every single one of them — I’m confident in them.”

EAST RULES THE SOUTH

The Thunderhawks finished up a holiday trip in Florida and won three straight games to capture the North Coast Christmas Tournament championship before returning home for Friday’s contest.

“I loved going on that vacation with our guys,” Adkins said. “This is a great group of kids. I’ll never have to worry about them doing anything stupid. We went down there, won some games, and now we came home to get back into the swing of things in the GMC that has so much parity this season.”

THE SERIES

Lakota East leads the series 25-23 against its local foe since Lakota split into two schools back in 1997. … Lakota West has won two out of the last three meetings and is 4-3 the last four seasons against Lakota East. … The second contest this season is slated for Feb. 9 at East.

UP NEXT

Lakota West has a quick turnaround and travels to West Carrollton on Saturday. Lakota East visits Hamilton on Tuesday.

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