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Prep basketball: Lions earn historic playoff win
Lakeview Academy’s Nick Saye (14) guards Breman’s Curt Barrett during the first half of Friday night’s playoff game at the Lakeview gymnasium. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

GAINESVILLE — Lakeview Academy’s boys basketball team is making plans for something totally revolutionary after Friday’s 80-62 first round playoff win against Bremen: A second round playoff game.

The Lions (21-8) shot 44 percent from the field, built an 18-point lead in the second half, and took advantage of Bremen’s early foul trouble to leave little doubt who would advance in the school’s first home playoff game. With the win — the first in the playoffs in team history — Lakeview Academy continues its red-hot streak started in the second half of the regular season. The Lions are now winners of 15 of their last 16 games.

"We try to be consistent as a team, and over the course of the season develop a routine," Lions coach Seth Vining said. "And having a routine helps us maintain our consistency."

Making the victory even sweeter is the comfort knowing that Tuesday’s second round playoff game against Whitefield Academy will also be played in Gainesville. Whitefield Academy advanced with a 89-74 win over Warren County on Friday.

What means the most for the Lions getting to play at home in the playoffs?

The crowd.

"The crowd here was amazing and helps us get excited to play," junior point guard Haughton Carswell said.

Despite making the playoffs five consecutive seasons, Lions players were very casual in their approach to handling their first playoff win.

"It’s too surreal right now to get excited," Carswell said.

"It’s great to get that monkey off our back," senior guard David Pruett said. "We’re trying to stay humble about this win."

Pruett was the catalyst behind Lakeview Academy’s big cushion going into the fourth quarter thanks to his scoring on fast breaks, 3-pointers and accuracy at the free throw line. He finished with a game-high 28 points, five rebounds, and 9-for-11 night at the line.

"David’s been very consistent all season, and I expect him to lead," Vining added.

After a tight first quarter, Pruett got the Lions rolling with a steal and drive down court before stopping to hit a jump shot and ensuing foul shot. The sequence gave the Lions an 18-13 lead with 18 seconds remaining in the quarter and helped ignite Lakeview Academy’s offense, which scored 21 in the second quarter and 25 in the third quarter.

Eleven players contributed points in a balanced Lions effort, and Pruett, Josh Wilkins, Tyler Ward and Brett Armour all made 3-pointers.

Carswell finished the game with 15 points and five assists. Colin King scored nine for Lakeview Academy.

Clayton McIntosh finished with a team-high 18 for Bremen and Kell Singleton scored 15.

Tuesday’s game is assured to be Lakeview Academy’s last home game of the season with quarterfinal and subsequent rounds at a neutral sites.

"We’re going to continue to put our best effort on the floor," Pruett added.

Bremen’s season is now complete.

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