Lakeview Academy’s boys basketball program is headed back in the state playoffs.
The Lions soared to a 58-41 win over Pinecrest Academy on Tuesday after a strong third quarter to open the Region 6-A private schools tournament in Gainesville.
Conley Millwood had a game-high 27 points for the Lions (17-8), which opened it up with a strong third quarter and took a 10-point lead into the fourth period. With the win, Lakeview Academy faces Mount Pisgah in the region tournament semifinals Thursday.
“It (win) is 100 percent credit to the kids,” Lakeview Academy coach Tyler Sanders said. “This is a reward to them.”
And for the Lions, it was a 12-2 scoring edge in the third quarter that helped find some separation from the Paladins, who made a number of miscues out of halftime.
Lakeview Academy led by three points at halftime, but the second-half scoring burst put it ahead 38-26 before Pinecrest Academy had to call a timeout to reset.
Paladins coach Jay Lynch said the low-scoring output for his program was consistent with the rest of the 2020-21 season.
“Every game we’ve played against them this year we have scored in the 40’s,” Lynch said. “Our cold spells hurt us. I looked at the stats and we shot like 30-something percent.”
When Millwood was finding trouble making baskets for Lakeview Academy, Declan Weidner stepped in and filled the void. He added 15 points for the Lions. Lakeview Academy’s first-year coach is especially proud of his program’s cohesiveness, having dealt maturely with the shortened offseason in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our kids have bought into the toughness factor we have wanted to put into the program,” Sanders said. “We are battled tested.”
And with the playoff berth already secured, the Lions can improve their position for the playoffs.
A win Thursday will assure Lakeview Academy a home playoff game to open the Class A private schools postseason bracket.