LAND O’LAKES — As Cambridge Christian trailed rival Academy at the Lakes after three quarters, the young Lancers seemed to drag their feet.
Then they started hitting free throws and woke up.
The Lancers pulled ahead in the second overtime to win 76-73 and replace the Wildcats at the top of the Class 2A, District 7 standings.
“This group is new at playing together,” Cambridge coach Jay Bowen said. “They’re young.”
During a series of timeouts late in the fourth, the coach repeatedly told the Lancers to keep their composure. It worked.
“They didn’t get down when they were down,” Bowen said.
The Lancers were behind by five when the third-quarter buzzer sounded.
With 4:14 left in the fourth, Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young hit a 3, pulling his team ahead, 47-44, for the first time.
The rest of the quarter was a tense, back-and-forth affair with several series of free throws that had fans on their feet. Academy at the Lakes’ Ethan Haslam sank a layup with 51.8 seconds remaining, tying the score at 52.
The first overtime didn’t settle matters. Haslam and the Lancers’ Garrett Young sank shots that kept the score close. The players prepared for a second overtime with the score tied at 61.
Cambridge Christian pulled ahead on free throws, but a layup by Haslam gave the Wildcats their last lead of the game, 66-65.
With 1:16 remaining, the Lancers led by five points. They held onto the ball and paced as long as they could. The Wildcats’ Kalique Jones hit a 3 with less than 30 seconds left, drawing fans to their feet again, but the team couldn’t catch up.
Young finished with 32 points and Haslam had 36.
Bowen praised AATL as a strong rival.
“I don’t see how we beat them tonight,” he said. “They’re a great group.”