WEST CHESTER TWP. — It’s been a historic run for the state’s No. 3-ranked Lakota East High School girls basketball team.
Thunderhawks coach Dan Wallace said it’s time to continue the surge ahead.
“We’re going to be tournament ready,” Wallace said after the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Southwest District Division I tournament draw at Lakota West on Sunday afternoon.
Lakota East (18-1), which is having its best season in program history, received the second seed and will play the winner of No. 21 Edgewood (9-10) and No. 18 Mount Healthy (13-7) on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. at Harrison.
Wallace said he felt the top four teams — West Clermont, Lakota East, Mason and Princeton — were the top four teams for a reason.
“I felt like they’re all interchangeable,” Wallace said. “All of them are really good teams, and it could have gone in any direction.”
With the regular season games the Thunderhawks have remaining, Wallace said it doesn’t get his squad any more postseason prepared than that.
Lakota East travels to Princeton on Monday, then hosts Hamilton on Wednesday and will have Greater Miami Conference title implications riding on an away game with Mason on Saturday.
“We’re ready, there’s no doubt,” Wallace said. “We can use these good tough games coming up to continue to build what we’ve done this season and carry that into the tournament.”
Talawanda coach Mary Jo Huismann said the same for her program.
The No. 6-seeded Brave, who are the only undefeated team in Butler County at 18-0, drew No. 25 Turpin (5-14). They will play on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at Lakota East.
“This is going to be tough,” said Huismann, whose squad won the Southwest Ohio Conference outright last week with its win over Northwest. “Is all of it feasible? It’ll be tough. When we play well, we can beat people. We just have to play well, and I think we can.”
Huismann said once tournament play rolls around, one of the big tasks will be keeping her players poised.
“With these kids, they’ve never been there,” she said. “So we’re going to make sure they’re calm. Last year, I felt like we weren’t calm. This year, they’re confident. They know that can do it.”
Other area Division I tournament games:
No. 9 Lakota West (12-8) faces No. 13 Milford (12-8) on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 12:30 p.m. at Lakota East.
No. 17 Fairfield (9-11) will play No. 12 Lebanon (13-7) on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at Lakota East.
No. 22 Ross (9-11) will battle the No. 19 Walnut Hills (13-7) and No. 20 Sycamore (7-13) winner on Monday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. at Harrison.
No. 23 Middletown (8-12) goes up against No. 15 Winton Woods (12-8) on Monday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at Lakota East.
No. 29 Monroe (7-14) takes on the winner of No. 26 Colerain (5-14) and No. 5 Mount Notre Dame (15-4) on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. at Lakota East.
No. 32 Hamilton (1-18) plays the winner of No. 30 Little Miami (2-17) and No. 1 West Clermont (20-0) on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. at Lakota East.
The Edgewood versus Mount Healthy contest is set for Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakota East.
No. 2 Badin (17-2) plays No. 16 Franklin (4-15) on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at Middletown.
The Rams have won seven in a row and clinched at least a share of the Greater Catholic League Coed title after their win over Fenwick on Saturday.
No. 9 Fenwick (8-11) takes on the winner of No. 3 Summit Country Day (14-5) and No. 14 CHCA (5-13) on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at Middletown.
Madison coach Brian McGuire said it eventually comes down to having to go up against some of the best during tournament time.
And the Mohawks will be doing just that.
No. 6 Madison (12-6) drew No. 4 Clark Montessori (16-1). That game will be played on Thursday, Feb 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfield.
“We figured we’re going to have to play the top teams eventually,” Mohawks coach Brian McGuire said. “It’s going to be tough. So we will have to beat some good teams right off the bat. … This year, we think we have a shot to do something.
“I think we’ve gotten pretty prepared for tournament games,” McGuire added. “We’re not fearful of playing anyone right now.”
The Mohawks, tied with Valley View atop the Southwestern Buckeye League West Division at 8-4, are still battling for a conference championship.
“This is always an exciting time,” McGuire said. “It’s almost like going through a renewal process each tournament. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
No. 2 Middletown Christian (14-4) takes on No. 8 St. Bernard (5-13) on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. at Monroe.
No. 5 Cincinnati Christian (9-8) battles No. 3 Fayetteville-Perry (9-11) on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Monroe
No. 9 New Miami (4-9) plays No. 1 Legacy Christian (15-3) on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. at Monroe.
About the Author