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The West Press

The West Press

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A Recap of the East Vs. West Basketball Rivalry Ahead of Round Two

A Recap of the East Vs. West Basketball Rivalry Ahead of Round Two

In the first Friday night basketball matchup of the 2024 calendar year, the Lakota West Firebirds took down the Lakota East Thunderhawks on West’s home floor with a final score of 56-46.

While the matchup was fairly even when looking at the GMC standings, the Firebirds were considered by many to be the underdog on their own hardwood. With stars like Trey Perry, a 2023 1st-team all-GMC guard who entered the game averaging roughly 24 points per game, and Ty Smyers, returning after dealing with injury issues, many considered this East team a more scary roster.

The great equalizer, however, seemed to be the crowd that packed the west-side gym. The announced attendance for the game was over 2,000, a crowd that not many players get the privilege to perform in front of. While the crowd noise didn’t seem to have much of an impact from the tip, it became evident that the added pressure set it late into the contest.

The game opened with an evenly matched first quarter, as it ended with a score of 12-10 Firebirds, but the halftime score was not as kind to the Firebirds. The west side entered their locker room down 21-16, their largest deficit of the game. While West only trailed by 5, it felt like a lot more at the time for many in the arena. West needed a strong run and a fresh burst of energy in the second half if they wanted a chance at winning.

Luckily for Coach Moss and company, they got exactly what they needed. Thanks to clutch shots from guys like LJ Green and Josh Tyson, who finished with a season-high 21 points, the Firebirds came clawing back and outlasted the Thunderhawks in what became a largely emotionally fueled fourth quarter, winning the first meeting between the two schools 56-46.

Looking forward to the second meeting, slated to take place on the hardwood at Lakota East on February 9th, 2024, the Firebirds have their work cut out for them. At the time of this article, the Firebirds will have a rematch against the Middletown Middies at home on 2/2 after dropping the first game of the series. Should the Firebirds win this game, they will be looking to continue their push for first place in the GMC, where they are currently tied with the Sycamore Aviators. 

Outside of the Aviators, whom the Firebirds will match up against on their senior night (2/14), the Thunderhawks appear to be the biggest threat to the Firebirds’ run. Led by Trey Perry, who leads the GMC in scoring with 23.8 points per game, the East side is a highly explosive basketball team that has proven capable of competing with the Firebirds and their fast pace of play.

East hasn’t been immune to rough spots in the season, however. West basketball analyst Noah Bramble noted, “With a weapon on offense like Trey Perry, you would think that they would be able to produce some wins over higher competition,” but for East, those wins have been far and few between. 

Although, in a contest with so much energy, the game will likely be decided late in the fourth quarter yet again, and you won’t want to miss it. If you can’t head out to Lakota East on the 9th, tune into Lakota West Student Broadcasting, which will have live coverage of the highly anticipated GMC battle.

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About the Writer
Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
Nick Johnson is a third-year journalism student in his senior year. Nick is very involved around the school, as a peer counseling lead team member and doing PA announcing for the baseball team in the spring. He is also a leader of the Lakota West Student Broadcasting Club. Nick enjoys writing about sports, specifically football, as he is a huge NFL fan. Specifically, he is a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions. He also does writing for other sports, and you can read all of his articles and more here on the West Press.

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