High School Sports

Westminster Academy duo comes out on top in showdown with University School standouts

Westminster forawrd Paul Atkinson goes up against Windermere during the FHSAA boys 3A basketball finals Thursday February 25, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Westminster lost the title 62-58.
Westminster forawrd Paul Atkinson goes up against Windermere during the FHSAA boys 3A basketball finals Thursday February 25, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Westminster lost the title 62-58. Cindy Skop

Westminster Academy’s forward tandem of 6-10 Paul Atkinson and 6-9 Jason Strong didn’t get the hype University School’s sophomore standouts 7-1 Balsa Koprivica and 6-10 Vernon Carey Jr. did at the beginning of the season. But it was Atkinson and Strong who earned bragging rights Saturday.

In a showdown at the Kreul Showcase, Strong and Atkinson helped Westminster Academy escape with a thrilling 60-57 victory at Monarch.

Strong capped a team-high 23 points with a crucial offensive rebound and put-back with 15 seconds left to seal the game, and Atkinson added 15 points.

Lions coach Ehren Wahloff said his two stars took the matchup with Carey and Koprivica personal.

“Vernon will be a great player and Balsa will be a great player,” Wahloff said. “But it was kind of a passing of the guard where you have two seniors that were saying, ‘Hey, we are here,’ that, ‘We want to prove that we can play with you,’ and I think that is what you saw — a great battle.”

While Carey had his moments with a team-high 18 points, Westminster’s biggest advantage proved to be Strong’s and Atkinson’s ability to put the ball on the floor and get University School’s big men in foul trouble.

Koprivica, who struggled through early foul trouble and finished with 11 points, fouled out with two minutes left, and Carey soon followed.

“We played well as a team; a few mistakes here and there, we just came up short,” Koprivica said. “It’s something to learn from. Westminster was attacking the basket a lot this game and we were picking up a lot of fouls.”

Strong and Atkinson came up big down the stretch. Strong converted a three-point play with 4:16 left after drawing a foul on Carey to put the Lions ahead 54-50, and Atkinson answered a three-pointer from the Sharks’ Michael Moore that put University ahead 57-56 with two free throws to put Westminster up for good with 1:29 left.

▪ Kreul Showcase — Westminster Academy 60, University 57: WA: Strong 23, Scott 8, Johnston 7, Blackwell 7, Atkinson 15. NSU: Moore 6, Flowers 10, Sanguinetti 4, Saunders 6, Koprivica 11, Carey 18, Acosta 2. HT: WA 32-30. Three-pointers: Flowers 2, Moore 2, Saunders 2, Johnston 1, Blackwell 1.

▪ Kreul Showcase — Dwyer 77, McArthur 46: DW: Luke 16, Anders 4, Quince 11, Coleman 19, Evans 2, Get Germinal 2, Ingraham 9, Goulbourne 3. MCA: Bissainthe 6, Millwood 5, Labastille 6, Saintil 14, Belvin 11, Choi 2. Three-pointers: Coleman 5, Ingraham, Goulbourne, Bissainthe, Saintil, Belvin. HT: DW 48-22.

▪ Kreul Showcase — St. Andrews 72, Ft. Lauderdale 26: SA: K. Pelissier 2, Pierre-Louis 4, Polite 15, M. Pelissier 5, Chmyrenko 13, Brasseur 5, Kennedy 2, Milstein 6, Ralat 2, Loesel 6. McAdoo 12. FL: Gammage 6, Richardson 3, McFadden 4, Sapp 3, Dorceus 2, Lacroix 2, Jackson 4, Barger 2. Three-pointers: Chmyrenko, McAdoo, Gammage 2, Richardson. HT: SA 37-15.

▪ Kreul Showcase — Cypress Bay 82, Gulliver Prep 56: CB: Foster 8, Anderson 7, Heyman 2, Garcia 25, Quinteros 6, Krivitzkin 15, Ulino 6, Klopman 2, Burroughs 2, Skelly 1, Paul 3. GP: Robinson 21, Taylor 4, Mashburn 9, Silberman 6, Saunders 14, Perry 2, Sengul 2. Three-pointers: Quinteros, Krivitzkin 2, Robinson, Saunders. HT: GP 28-25.

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