LAND O’LAKES — Academy at the Lakes extended its breakout season Tuesday thanks, in part, to a career game from its best player.
Freshman Ethan Haslam, who entered the Class 2A region semifinal averaging 18 points, scored a career-high 40 in leading the host Wildcats to a 69-61 win over Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy.
“We needed all 40 of them,” coach Tom Haslam said of his son’s output. “He’s a better athlete than people think he is. He kind of scores from all over.”
Academy at the Lakes (17-9) appeared on its way to a blowout, outscoring All Saints’ 25-8 in the first quarter en route to a 39-18 halftime lead. But the Saints cut into a 24-point deficit with a 13-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
Haslam broke that stretch with a layup and the Wildcats hung on, but not before the Saints pulled within six (63-57 on Troy MacNeill’s 3-point shot with less than two minutes remaining).
“I heard that they don’t give up, but I didn’t think it’d be like that,” Tom Haslam said. “We made a couple of mistakes and they made some baskets. It’s never pretty.”
Jarrett Harvey added 15 points for the Wildcats.
All Saints got 25 points from Reggie Evans with Andy Moats and MacNeill adding 15 apiece.