The Lakeview Academy boys basketball team has relied on its seniors throughout the year, so with the entire season on the line, it made sense for the fourth-year Lions players to step up. But although seniors Adam Cottrell and Blake McIntyre combined to score 33 points in the second half, it wasn’t enough for Lakeview Academy to overcome a 14-point third quarter deficit, and the Lions fell 80-73 to North Cobb Christian to close out their season in the second round of the Class A state playoffs in Gainesville.
“Our defense wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be, and neither was our rebounding, but I’m awful proud of these guys,” Lakeview Academy coach Todd Cottrell said. “They had a fantastic season. Really tough kids. It was an honor to coach them. I just hate that it ended a little sooner than what we wanted.”
The duo of Adam Cottrell and McIntyre scored all but 10 of the Lions’ points in the game, and all but one in the second half as the pair left everything on the court in their last game suiting up for Lakeview Academy
“We’ve been able to do a lot these past four years,” Cottrell said. “For us, it’s an honor to put on this jersey and represent this great school and all the people that are involved in it. I loved every second of it.”
The teams battled back and forth throughout an opening half that featured six lead changes as the two groups took turns catching fire. North Cobb Christian’s Tremain Davis got things going early with a pair of consecutive made shots that gave the Eagles an early lead, but McIntyre knocked down two 3-pointers of his own to wrestle the lead back.
Josiah Scott — who put in 10 of his 17 points in the opening frame — scored North Cobb Christian’s last eight points of the quarter to get the score back to an even 20-20 eight minutes in.
Lakeview Academy started the second period with a 10-2 run and seemed poised to run away with the game before the Eagles responded with a 9-0 streak of their own.
McIntyre and fellow senior K.J. Millwood put in a pair of treys for the Lions with under two minutes left in the half to go back in front, but it would be the last time they would lead for the remainder of the contest. North Cobb Christian’s Kami Young scored four points in an 8-0 North Cobb Christian run late in the half that put the Eagles up by two going into the break.
Davis and Bobby Moore each knocked down 3s for North Cobb Christian in the opening two minutes of the second half to help the Eagles jump out to their first double-digit lead of the game, and shots from Davis and Moore on consecutive possessions later in the quarter gave the Eagles a 14-point lead — its biggest of the night — halfway through the third period.
But Lakeview Academy refused to go down without a fight.
The Lions outscored the Eagles 7-2 over the last two minutes of the third frame, and continued to slowly battle closer to evening the score throughout the final quarter. Lakeview Academy closed the deficit to three points on two occasions, but North Cobb Christian managed to answer in both instances.
Caleb Crumly’s offensive rebound following a pair of missed Eagles free throws with under a minute left to play proved to be the final blow to the Lions’ hope of a comeback.
“I’m very sad, disappointed, whatever the word is for this group of seniors, because I would’ve liked to see them play a little longer,” Todd Cottrell said. “I think it’s a very special group. But they’re competitors. We didn’t expect anything less than for them to come out and compete like crazy. I wish we would’ve played a little better.”