CLASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
LAKELAND – Getting to the top of the mountain is hard enough. Winning even one championship can consume teams, coaches, and fans. Well, that’s not what Westminster Academy Head Coach Ehren Wallhoff had in mind, at all. Thursday afternoon the Lions were able to put their names into the history books as back-to-back Class 4A State Champions by virtue of a 89-64 win over The Master’s Academy from Oviedo.
The game was within nine points with less than six minutes to play in the third quarter, but a circus act influenced by sophomore guard Dudley Blackwell ensued shortly after that benchmark, with the Lions going on a 14-4 run and then another 17-1 run to seal TMA’s fate.
Zach Scott, a Florida Gulf Coast commitment, led Westminster Academy with 35 points joined by three other players in double-figures. The senior looked like he was going to hit the 40-point mark after putting up 31 through three quarters, but that’s when juniors Sam Griffin (19 points) and Chase Johnston (13 points) picked up where Scott left off along with Blackwell who finished with 14 points on the afternoon.
Senior guard Jose Placer led Master’s Academy with 24 points, but could not get the help he needed from his fellow teammates. To that effect, it was a woeful shooting performance for the Eagles, which against the Lions, a perfect perimeter game would be needed. The Eagles finished the game just 39-percent from the field and 32-percent from beyond the arc.
While Master’s Academy was experiencing a blockage at the rim and inside the paint, Westminster was busy putting up a championship-worthy 55-percent from the field and 41-percent from the three-point range. Westminster’s Defense also proceeded to help their offensive cause with a 14-7 total in steals, leading to a 22-12 result in points off turnovers. The Lions also finished with a 46-20 advantage in points in the paint.
The Master’s Academy finishes their season at 23-8, while Westminster Academy are back-to-back champions with a 23-6 record.
Doug Pugh, BCP Contributor