LIBERTY TWP. — Lakota East High School’s boys basketball team will be short-handed the rest of the season.
Junior Alex Mangold suffered a broken leg early in Tuesday’s 56-34 victory over Oak Hills, and the 6-foot-6 forward underwent surgery Wednesday.
“He broke both bones in his lower leg. It was horrible, just horrible,” Thunderhawks coach Clint Adkins said. “He was posting up and kind of crab dribbling toward the middle. He kind of hopped in the middle of the lane and his leg somehow got wedged between two of the Oak Hills kids, and all of his weight went down on it. I don’t look at that stuff, but the people who saw it said it was pretty gruesome.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COVERAGE
Senior guard Will Johnston soared to a career-best 27 points with six 3-pointers once the game resumed. His previous career high was 10 points.
Adkins admitted he had no idea how his players would react after Mangold’s injury.
“It was a pretty traumatic event for our kids,” Adkins said. “Guys are crying and emotional … some of them I didn’t know if they would say, ‘Coach, I can’t even play.’ There’s nothing that can really prepare you for something like that. But our guys rallied around each other. They were amazing.”
Mangold averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game this season. He shot 56.5 percent from the floor, 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the line.
Adkins said his rehabilitation could take seven or eight months and possibly more than a year.
“He’s got a long road ahead of him,” Adkins said. “I think he’ll push himself and get to where he needs to be. It’s just a matter of whether his body’s going to cooperate or not.
“More important than anything, you just want him to get healthy. You care about kids’ safety and health. Basketball takes you only so far. You don’t want to be an old man and have complications because you had a broken leg. So the biggest thing is to get healthy, then you can start worrying about the basketball stuff.”
It’s the second major loss for East this year. Kyrell Metts, a 6-5 senior, hasn’t been able to play this season because of a football injury.
The Thunderhawks are still tied for first place with Mason in the Greater Miami Conference, and they’ll meet Friday night at Mason.
East is 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the GMC, while the Comets are 11-1, 7-1. The Thunderhawks will face top-ranked Moeller in the Midwest King Classic at Middletown on Sunday at 8 p.m.
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