3A: Westminster Rallies in Overtime to Advance
No. 1 Orlando First Academy scored nearly at will in the first half, shooting 59 percent from the field and scoring 40 points. The second half was a different game, however.
Second-ranked Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy tightened its defense, frustrating the Royals the rest of the game to rally to tie the score in regulation and then going on to win 68-58 in overtime on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the FHSAA Class 3A Boys Basketball State Championships at The Lakeland Center.
Westminster will play Windermere Prep in the final at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“This year has been a special year,” Westminster coach Ehren Wallhoff said. “This is a special bunch. They’ve been the comeback kids all year, and I never doubt them. I never doubt them in the sense that they’ve been able to fight their way back, claw their way back.”
The Lions showed their comeback ability against the Royals as they trailed by eight at halftime.
Paul Atkinson led Westminster with 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Jerald Butler scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Guard Zachary Scott added 19 points, including eight of his team’s 16 points in overtime.
Chaundee Brown led First Academy with 23 points but after scoring 15 points in the first half, the Lions held him to just four points in the third and fourth quarters.
Of course, Westminster didn’t allow many points to anybody in the second half.
First Academy shot 59 percent from the field, including 60 percent from 3-point range on 6-of-10 shooting, but managed just 16 percent in the second half, including overtime.