Academy at the Lakes overcame a five-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter Thursday to squeak by Lake Wales Vanguard 49-48 in the Class 2A region quarterfinals.
“We’ll take an ugly one,” coach Tom Haslam said. “That’s okay.”
And it was ugly. The Wildcats (16-9) trailed for much of the game but got a second-half boost from Abaz Igwe. The junior wing scored 13 of his team-high 15 in the third quarter to ignite his team.
AATL chipped away at the lead, forcing stops on defense and getting putbacks from sophomore Evan Gordy and others on offense.
“Once we got within one or two of them, it was anybody’s ball game,” Haslam said.
The Wildcats took the lead for good in the closing minutes and held the ball with about two minutes left, forcing Vanguard to foul. The Panthers had a chance to win but missed a 10-footer at the buzzer.
“We just held on,” Haslam said.
Gordy finished with 10 points for AATL, and Ethan Haslam chipped in 11.