By Kyle LoJacono
The Academy at the Lakes girls basketball team qualified for the playoffs for only the second time in its history after winning the Class 2A-District 8 championship on Feb. 3.
The Wildcats (20-5) won their two district tournament games by an average of 53.5 points. The squad defeated Hernando Christian 86-27 to win the program’s second district title one year after claiming its first.
Making back-to-back postseasons is a far cry from the program that went 0-15 just two seasons ago.
“The girls are playing better every game,” said academy second-year coach Karim Nohra. “Still not as good as I’d like, but better.”
Academy point guard Samantha Fernandez had a team-high 19 points, followed by forward Andrea Mauger’s 18. Mauger, a junior, sits nine points away from 1,000 for her career.
The Wildcats also got double-digit point performances from guard Amelia Oliver and center Yvanessa Vincent, who posted 14 and 11, respectively.
The academy defeated Tampa Bay Christian 69-21 in the semifinals on Feb. 2. The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and entered halftime up 42-5.
The academy was led by Oliver, who poured in 17 points. The Sunlake transfer is less than two weeks removed from scoring her 1,000th career point.
Vincent added 15 and Mauger scored 10.
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