WINTER HAVEN — Devon Walker scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half and Winter Haven advanced to the region final in Class 6A with a 60-42 victory over Land O’Lakes.
Winter Haven (20-7) confused Land O’Lakes with a variety of presses early, holding the Gators (22-7) to 12 points in the first half. Land O’Lakes fell behind by as many as 28 before rallying.
“From our scouting report, they didn’t play a lot of teams that pressured them,” Winter Haven coach Tyrone Woodside said. “We have a lot of quick and athletic players and we took advantage of that.”
The Gators never shot a free throw until the middle of the third quarter. They were down, 45-17, late in the quarter. Ernest McClendon, who led Land O’Lakes with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer for the first of 13 straight Gator points to close out the frame.
The Gators trimmed Winter Haven’s lead to 11 with 2:06 to go, but the Blue Devils pulled the ball out and Walker iced the victory with five straight free throws.