Girls basketball: Lakota East comeback cut short against Winton Woods

Madison falls to Alter

MIDDLETOWN — Lakota East coach Dan Wallace laid out the keys to advancing in the postseason.

“We talk about tournament time,” he said. “The things that win games are layups, free throws and rebounding.

“We got beat on the boards, and we got beat on the free throw line. That’s how you lose games in the tournament.”

Daniah Trammell had 15 points and 11 rebounds — both game highs — and the No. 4 seed Winton Woods Warriors sunk 13 of 14 free throws down the stretch to knock off the No. 10 Thunderhawks 51-46 in a Division I district semifinal at Middletown’s Wade E. Miller Arena.

“We both had 14 free throws in the second half,” Wallace said. “They made 13, and we made eight. That’s six points left on the board, and we lost by five. That’s the difference.”

Winton Woods (20-5) has won 10 straight, including its regular-season finale against Lakota East 45-36 earlier this month. The Warriors face Springboro in a district final on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Princeton.

“I wish we always didn’t have to grit our way through one,” Winton Woods coach Carlton Gray said. “I wish that we can take advantage of the opportunities that we create for ourselves.

“We had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter and just continued to do things to allow teams to stay close and make the games tougher than they need to be. But at the end of the day, regardless of what we did to let them back into it, we still did enough to close out the game.”

Brooke Asher scored 12 points, Katlyn Pham had 12 and Celina Blount added 10 for the Thunderhawks, who clawed their way from a 42-32 deficit heading into the final quarter. Lakota East pulled it to within 44-42 using a 10-2 run with four minutes left to play.

The Warriors knocked down their free throws in the final minutes to secure the victory. Whitley Davis and Leigha Acoff had nine points apiece for Winton Woods.

“Our kids fought their tails off,” Wallace said. “We prepped really well. Winton Woods is a really good basketball team. I thought we held some of their kids, but at the same time, we got outworked in the first half.

“We were a couple free throws and a couple layups from winning that. That’s how our whole season has been.”

The Thunderhawks (15-9) graduate seniors Emma Fohl, Phoebe Towe, Sidney Zawila and Blount.

“This group had a really fun personality. Every team has a personality,” Wallace said. “This group had fun. Day in and day out, they had fun. They worked really hard, and they were really focused.

“It was amazing to me that I felt the entire season at any moment, it clicks, and we’re the best team in the state,” Wallace added. “We could not, in close games, get it to go our way. That’s disappointing for them and hard to keep going. But we play a tough schedule that we play on purpose.

“I’m super proud of our girls. We’ve got great families and great kids. And that’s all you can ask for.”

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