LAND O’ LAKES — In the waning seconds of Academy at the Lakes’ 67-31 victory over Cambridge Christian on Friday, Wildcats coach Karim Nohra tried holding back his emotions.
A big smile from Nohra came after the game — and his 500th career win — as the crowd chanted his name and presented a banner honoring the milestone.
“The banner with my picture and the 500, yes it touched me quite a bit,” said Nohra, whose career record is 500-159. “It’s another win, but I’m so thankful that I have had a good administration and a good athletic director wherever I’ve gone. Wherever I’ve gone, they’ve been very supportive.”
Six of Nohra’s former players were on hand, and former AATL coach John Castelamare also was in the gymnasium for the history-making victory. Nohra coached previously at Tampa Catholic, Wesley Chapel and Cambridge Christian.
The game featured some tense moments, including the Wildcats (19-1) leading only 18-16 early in the second quarter. But by halftime, AATL had regrouped and held a 38-18 advantage.
AATL got a scare late in the second quarter when sophomore center Imani Thomas (seven points) went down with an apparent hand injury and did not return.
Without Thomas, the Wildcats didn’t seem to miss a beat behind freshman shooting guard Audra Liepold, who had 19 points, six steals, five rebounds and five assists.