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Posted on: February 29, 2024

The resilient Lakota East Thunderhawks found another way to win on Wednesday night against GCL foe St. Xavier. After holding a 10-point lead most of the game, the Hawks relied on some key free throw shooting in the final minutes to put away their 2nd straight postseason win over a tough GCL opponent.

The final score:  East 54 and St. X 51. The win was a little "revenge" after the Bombers defeated East 56-54 in the season opener. 

In an extremely physical contest, East built a 10+ point lead over the Bombers early in the 1st half without their GMC scoring leader. Junior standout Trey Perry got into some early foul trouble and had to sit most of the 1st half. Perry's teammates took over for him, sustaining their lead and stifling St. X's attempt to get back into the game. Key were some big short-range jumpers by Bash Wieland (12 points) and an extremely strong defensive effort by Hawk players.

After the break, East was able to stretch their advantage to 13 and finish the quarter with a 41-30 lead. 

During the final quarter of play, things got very interesting. The Bombers went on a short run and were able to get within 1 point of the Hawks.

 But, in the final seconds, St. X was forced to foul. East's 16-19 from the charity stripe proved extremely beneficial in the contest. 

Sophomore guard, Jeff Shaw came off the bench and sunk two big free throws when teammate Tyler Bachman was fouled and couldn't go to the line due to a minor injury. Shaw, who a few minutes earlier missed a breakaway layup, calmly sunk both shots and sealed the win for the Hawks.

Trey Perry led all scorers with 18 (including a long-range 3-pointer at the end of the first half). Tyler Bachman, who also made some key offensive and defensive contributions, finished with 10.

It was another memorable tourney win for the Hawks who now advance to the Sectional Final. East will get a familiar opponent in GMC rival Hamilton. Big Blue blew out Fairfield Wednesday night 63-45 to advance to Saturday's 2:00 pm final back at Fairfield HS.

 In the only meeting this year between the two schools, Hamilton defeated East 54-48 on January 9th. 

The winner will earn a District Championship berth on Sunday, March 10th at the Cintas Center against the winner of the Oak Hills/Sycamore sectional final. 

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