Dudukovich’s 32 points gives Lakota West a dominant opening win over Franklin

Mason, Ohio — The Ohio Valley Hoops Classic opened up the high school basketball season for a handful of teams. The event based in Mason, Ohio featured some intriguing matchups this weekend as the two-day event was packed with talent.

Lakota West made a statement in their opener after their 78-42 blowout victory over Franklin. Nathan Dudukovich dropped a career high 32 points as he was unstoppable all day long for the Firebirds.

Lakota West junior guard Nathan Dudukovich

Franklin lost some key pieces from their 20-2 team from last year. They replaced senior guard Tez Lattimore with freshman Kai Cook. Losing a key shooter in Jayden Bennett also proved to be negative for the Wildcats as they shot just 16% from three in the loss. Lucky for Franklin, their first game won’t decide their season and they’ll have a lot of time to give their younger players experience.

Lakota West opened up the game on an 11-1 run as the Firebirds came out with a lot of aggression. Nate Paarlberg and Noah Rich helped Franklin comeback as they trailed 14-8 at the end of the quarter.

Franklin senior forward Noah Rich

After heading out to a double digit lead to begin the second quarter, Franklin battled back once again. A transition three from Noah Rich capped off a Wildcat run that saw Lakota West’s lead dwindle down to just two points.

Dudukovich began to catch from three. After a pair of threes from the junior guard, William Layfield converted an and-one to extend West’s lead back to double digits as they led 32-20. Dudukovich then threw down a slam in transition to cap off the run to end the half as Lakota West led 36-22 at halftime.

Lakota West junior guard Nathan Dudukovich

Layfield hit a pair of threes to open up the second half and Lakota West suddenly had a twenty point lead. Lakota West’s lead grew to 25 points after Nathan Dudukovich converted his second and-one of the quarter. Dudukovich then drove coast to coast for his third and-one to extend the Firebirds’ lead to thirty points. Dudukovich wasn’t finished just yet. He would convert on yet another and-one and then hit a three to give Lakota West a 68-33 lead heading into the final quarter.

Lakota West senior guard William Layfield

Lakota West continued to shoot the ball well in the final quarter as they ran away with a 78-42 season opening victory over Franklin. Nathan Dudukovich had a game high 32 points as he went 5/12 from three and 11/20 from the field. William Layfield had 15 points for Lakota West and Bryson Curry added on 10 points as well.

Noah Rich had 15 points for Franklin and Taylor University commit Nate Paarlberg also reached double figures as he finished with 10 points. The duo of Rich and Paarlberg will cause problems all year long for defenses in the SWBL. A tough first game should be just the start for this group. Franklin has a lot of potential and should be one of the better teams in Southwest Ohio by the time March rolls around.

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