Posted On: 01/13/18 2:38 PM
Atlantic High School avenged an OT loss from last month with a wild third quarter spurt and late-game poise. The visitors handed Lake Worth (17-1) its first loss of the season in a pulsating 41-40 thriller on Friday.
Drawing a foul on their final possession, Atlantic guard Kadeem Wilks went to the line with 6.8 seconds left. After misfiring on the first free throw, Wilks shut out a raucous crowd and hit the second one as Atlantic held on in a dizzying upset.
MVP | Rodwens Albert| Atlantic ’18
Albert impacted the game on both ends, a critical factor which lifted the visitors to the upset. He had 16 points and delivered key defensive stops down the stretch. It was the scoring ability of Albert, who hit a three-pointer and then converted a transition leak out during an 11-3 surge, which allowed Atlantic to overcome a lackadaisical first half.
Play of the Game
With Lake Work ramping up its on-ball pressure, Kadeem Wilks got surged to the rim on a hard baseline drive and drew a foul in the act of shooting with 6.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. He then knocked back 1-of-2 at the free throw line, with his second free throw proving to be the game winner. Lake Worth misfired badly on a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Atlantic held on, improving to 8-6.
Best Offensive Performer | Japhet Medor| Lake Worth ’18
Whether it was a hard drive to the rim, a nifty stepback jumper, or a straight-away 3-pointer, Medor had 17 points to pace Lake Worth’s offensive attack. He hit several big shots, including a corner 3-pointer and a pair of free throws that knotted the game at 40-40 down the stretch. A dual threat at point guard, Medor also dished out key assists as Lake Worth kept the pressure on during a frenetic fourth quarter.
Best Defensive Performer | Rodwens Albert | Atlantic ’18
It is no secret Albert is one of the best scoring threats in Palm Beach County, a fact Atlantic’s coaching staff was quick to point out during the post-game interview.
Yet when he’s locked in defensively and uses his physicality to make plays on the defensive end, he’s a hard guy to stymie. With an increased focus to his on-ball defense, Albert had four steals and several valuable deflections. Atlantic applied stout team defense, forcing Atlantic and hot shooting guard Avery Brooks into some tough shots and an irregular shooting performance.
Best Intangibles |Justin Brown| Atlantic
With Atlantic missing a pivotal piece in 6-foot-8 forward R.J. Duhart, Brown played a lot bigger than he’s listed at in the roster. He provided timely rebounds and was able to really apply much-needed physicality in the post. His defense and ability to contest shots with draping close outs was an additionally critical component of Atlantic’s win.
Best Guy off the Bench | Timothy Taylor| Lake Worth
Taylor did a little bit of everything for the 17-1 Trojans early on. The best attribute he provided, however, was energy. By getting on the glass, providing a key putback, and turning in a smooth layup through traffic, he gave Lake Worth the early boost it needed as both teams struggled mightily shooting the ball.
Best Coaching Decision| Atlantic demand for increased perimeter pressure
Avery Brooks torched the nets to the tune of 32 points the last time the two teams met, a 79-74 OT win by Lake Worth back on December 5.
Thus, defeating an undefeated team with a handful of sharpshooters would entail getting out on the perimeter and forcing them into some ugly looks. By making Lake Worth attack the rim and neutralizing their 3-point shooting, Atlantic stymied the Trojans normally potent offense.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance | Atlantic’s Frontline
It has been a frustrating five weeks for Atlantic High School, which has been without their key interior threat in smooth, long 6-foot-8 forward R.J. Duhart. Duhart drew a six week suspension, a move that was met with much scrutiny from Atlantic’s athletic department, for picking up two technical fouls in a game during the Kreul Classic.
Without a double digit scorer and key shotblocker, several forwards were forced to play bigger than they are.
Best Aspect of the Environment | Lake Worth’s crowd
Lake Worth’s gym has never been an easy place to play. With a jam-packed crowd and a lively Friday night atmosphere, the home court advantage was definitely evident. Fortunately for Atlantic, they were able to fend off the ear shattering crescendo throughout the fourth quarter. Kadeem Wilks showed his poise by hitting the game-winning free throw with 6.8 ticks remaining. Lake Worth rushed the court following the win.
Best Quote, Atlantic Head Coach Haig on Rodwens Albert
“He’s a major player, he’s part of the fab five. Offensively, he’s as good as anybody in the county. He’s got to learn, you’ve got to play both sides of the ball. When he plays both sides of the ball and understands that he’s going to get his offense when he plays defense that way, he’s going to do some very special things.”