Original article by Chuck Frye, Tampa Bay Times
In the other semifinal, Academy at the Lakes had its ups and downs, owning a 10-point lead over Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy within three minutes of play and bumping it up to 20 midway through the third. But All Saints’ kept fighting, closing within two in the second and six (53-47) with 4:50 left in the game.
Sophomore Tayshawn Pendleton came up big for the Wildcats (16-10), hitting three layups in a closing 8-2 run for a 61-50 victory.
“That what comes when you have a starting core of four sophomores and a junior,” AATL coach Shawn Brown said. “They build a lead up to 20 then tend to relax. We make games harder than we have to, but it’s good because they’re young and they’ll learn from it.”
The sophomore quartet provided balanced scoring for the victors, who find themselves in a district final for the first time since 2016.
Pendleton finished with 16 points and four assists, ably aided by Caleb Yann (15 points, nine rebounds and three dimes), Jalen Brown (13 points, six assists and three steals) and Peyton Williams (nine points and three steals).
Senior Jacob Barrett led all scorers for All Saints’ (19-7) with 21 points and 15 rebounds.
“We haven’t been successful the last few years but I got these guys at the right time,” Brown said.
“Their goal was to win districts, we were motivated to get to Friday, and now we have to go out and get (the title).”