AVON PARK — Academy at the Lakes coach Karim Nohra knew what to expect and how to combat it in Tuesday’s 85-37 Class 2A region semifinal win over Avon Park Walker Memorial.
His Wildcats were facing a team that had won all 20 of its regular-season games, based largely on a scrapping, full-court defense that provided easy baskets in transition.
“But we had seen they were very dependent on (Kristelle Lagabon) handling the ball,” Nohra said. “The first few times up the floor, sure enough, she was dribbling right around us. We then took her very seriously. We focused on getting the ball out of her hands and forcing others to handle the ball.”
That was the case defensively after the first few minutes.
The Wildcat offense was already on track.
After Lagabon answered Andrea Mauger’s opening score with a drive, AATL rolled off 17 straight points, with Mauger hitting two 3s, Amelia Oliver one and Vanessa Vincent getting inside for two scores.
The Wildcats (22-5) ended the first eight minutes up 33-12 and led 52-23 by halftime.
Mauger had 22 of her game-high 27 at the break.
The offensive onslaught continued in the third, with Mauger adding her final five points and Oliver adding six as part of a 22-9 run.
Oliver finished with 20 points and Fernandez added 14.
“I got all I expected from my girls,” Nohra said. “We thought we could wear them down. We knew how they played and we turned the tables on them.”