Boys basketball: No. 5 Atlantic stops No. 6 Lake Worth for district title
Friday, February 08, 2013
by Jeff Greer
Brad Flaig doesn't care if his team's wins are ugly. In fact, he wants them to be.
"We help make it that way," Flaig said.
In Friday night's District 14-7A championship in Delray Beach, Atlantic uglied its way to a 51-43 win over rival Lake Worth, securing a home regional quarterfinal matchup next week against the winner of tonight's District 13-7A final between Palm Beach Lakes and Royal Palm Beach.
Fifth-ranked Atlantic (20-6) seemingly challenged every Lake Worth shot, making the sixth-ranked Trojans struggle for each point. Aaron Horne's floater with 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter gave Lake Worth (22-5) its first points of the game.
Atlantic grabbed leads as big as 11 and 12 in the first two quarters, and weathered a slight fourth-quarter push from the Trojans.
"We couldn't make a shot," Lake Worth coach Murray Smith said. "The last few games we've been shooting well, but with a start like that, everything's uphill."
Jamal Palmer (23 points) got many of his baskets in transition, though he did make two 3-pointers. Atlantic's star had help, though, especially from Thomas Owens. Owens made a pair of 3-pointers en route to 14 points, and point guard David Knowles found some offense with his penetration, tallying eight points.
It was the second time in three matchups Atlantic beat Lake Worth, with the home team winning each time. The rivals could meet again in the Class 7A regional semifinals on Feb. 19.
But Lake Worth needs to find its moxie again before that can happen. The Trojans have lost two of their past four games. They'll play the winner of the Palm Beach Lakes-Royal Palm Beach matchup.
"It's the same length game, you just have to go somewhere else and play it," Smith said of playing the regional quarterfinal away from home. "If you can't make shots, you won't win anywhere."
Atlantic now begins its quest for a third consecutive regional final appearance. But both coaches acknowledge the challenge ahead. Whichever team escapes 7A's brutal Palm Beach County bracket likely will face Pompano Beach-Ely, last year's state champ that beat Atlantic in the regional finals.