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Region boys basketball: AATL’s foe lives up to reputation

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Fri. February 21, 2014 | Darek Sharp

Orlando Christian Prep boasts a roster filled with future Division I players — and they played that way Friday night.

Visiting Academy at the Lakes saw its season end with an 82-41 loss in the Class 2A region finals, while OCP (28-1) is headed to the state semifinals a seventh straight time.

“They’ve got everything,” AATL coach Tom Haslam said. “They’re big, they’re athletic and, most of all, they’re highly skilled.”

That latter part manifested itself Friday from the perimeter. Despite being well guarded most of the time, the Warriors sank 14 3-pointers, with six players making at least one.

It was a seven-point game after one quarter, but AATL (17-11) suffered from turnovers in the second to trail 38-16 at the half.

“Once you fall 20 points behind them, there’s no way to come back,” Haslam said. “We played hard, we didn’t back down. When we lost to them two years ago (78-27 in the region final) we were not competitive. Tonight we competed.”

Malik Hall led the Wildcats with 18 points while Ethan Haslam had 11. Darin Kilfoyle, Ahkil McGill and Evan Gordy added four each.

OCP will meet Sarasota Christian at the Lakeland Center on Tuesday morning. FAMU and Grandview Prep are the other 2A semifinalists. Grandview defeated OCP in last year’s final; the Warriors had won the championship four of the previous five years, twice against Grandview.

“I don’t see anybody beating them next week,” Haslam said.

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