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The Thunderhawks are 8-9 overall and 5-6 in the GMC, and they’ve lost Sydney Harrison, Kalie Siereveld and Delaney Senger to injuries. Wallace said his players have been through a lot recently and weren’t available for postgame interviews Wednesday.
East swept the regular-season series with the Middies (3-11, 2-8), notching a pair of five-point victories. The score was 50-45 in the first meeting, and Middletown had a 39-38 lead in the last four minutes of the rematch.
“I’ve got to give Middletown a lot of credit,” Wallace said. “They were really, really tough today. The energy level, the rotations, the speed at which they were attacking was really, really good. I thought they played as hard as they could, and I was proud of my kids for matching it.”
SaMill Calhoun’s 15 points paced the Middies, who have lost four players to off-the-court issues and are down to a roster of eight. All eight saw action at East.
Lakota East’s Jordan Stanley launches a shot during Wednesday night’s game against Middletown in Liberty Township. The host Thunderhawks won 48-43. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
“I’m proud of my girls,” Middletown coach Kevin Aldridge said. “This is probably my 10th different lineup. We’ve been through so much this year … injuries, issues off the floor, a tough schedule right off the bat … but we’re still playing extremely hard.
“I felt like we fought to the end tonight. We didn’t play like a 3-11 team. We fought and fought and tried to execute what we wanted to do. East just made a couple more plays than us, so credit goes out to them.
“The girls are disappointed, and they should be. That’s part of competition. Nobody wants to lose. But we’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to have a short memory and keep fighting.”
The Thunderhawks survived 23 turnovers. Middletown put up 17 points off those miscues, but shot just 32.7 percent from the field and nearly got doubled on the boards.
Middletown coach Kevin Aldridge (holding paper) huddles with his team during a timeout Wednesday night at Lakota East. The host Thunderhawks won 48-43. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
Kaliyah Wilson scored eight points for the Middies. Teammates Addison Bess, Breyon Wright and Arianna Layne added seven, six and five points, respectively.
Megan Hatfield tallied all six of her points in the fourth quarter for East. Lily Rupp chipped in six points, five rebounds and four assists, Maddy Bley had five points and 10 boards, and Jessica Motley hauled in eight rebounds.
Wallace has been making five-for-five lineup switches in recent games and may keep doing it.
“It’s been kind of a building process,” he said. “I think our two groups play a little bit of a different style, and I think it mixes up the other team when they’re getting two different things. I think it’s beneficial for us. It also helps us wear the other team down.
Middletown’s Kaliyah Wilson (21) pressures Lakota East’s Jordan Stanley during Wednesday night’s game in Liberty Township. The host Thunderhawks won 48-43. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
“I think there were a couple of moments tonight where it got a little bit crazy and out of control, but that group plays fast and hard. I told them the only way to learn to play fast is to play fast, and you’re going to make mistakes. What I praised the kids for was after a mistake, we had a short memory and turned to the next play. We didn’t hold onto it. We didn’t sulk about it. We moved forward.”
Middletown will travel to Oak Hills on Thursday for a varsity-only contest at 4:30 p.m. East will visit Fairfield on Saturday afternoon.
Lakota East 11-13-10-14—48
MIDDLETOWN (3-11, 2-8 GMC): SaMill Calhoun 7 0 15; Kaliyah Wilson 3 1 8; Arianna Layne 2 0 5; Grace Boles 1 0 2; Breyon Wright 2 2 6; Addison Bess 3 0 7. Totals: 18-3-43
LAKOTA EAST (8-9, 5-6 GMC): Maddy Bley 1 3 5; Jessica Motley 1 0 3; Lily Rupp 2 0 6; Jordan Stanley 4 7 17; Megan Hatfield 3 0 6; Logan Fox 0 1 1; Emily French 0 1 1; Claire Vogelmann 1 0 2; Grace Honigford 1 0 3; Brie Harris 2 0 4. Totals: 15-12-48
3-pointers: M 4 (Calhoun, Wilson, Layne, Bess), L 6 (Rupp 2, Stanley 2, Motley, Honigford)