Basketball: Royals hold to top rival Lakers 58-56 in regular season finale -- Observer Preps

The First Academy's big win over Windermere Prep should deliver the team some added momentum heading into the district tournament next week.

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  • | 12:45 p.m. February 4, 2017
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by Jean Racine | Correspondent 


ORLANDO Fans stormed the court in the moments after The First Academy Royals defeated rival Windermere Prep 58-56 Friday night, finishing the regular season with a 23-1 record.

“This is a state championship-level team — Windermere Prep is really, really good,” said TFA head coach Chris Mayberry. “So I think (this win) is good for us going into the playoffs.”

TFA senior Elijah Jordan nailed a 3-pointer with 2:02 minutes left in the game to give the Royals a 57-56 lead, and on defensive end, senior Malik William would record one of his 10 blocked shots on the night to help fend off the Lakers.

“My job was to come out and do me,” William said. “Play for my team and not just play for myself.”

The 6-8, 220-pound William was the eraser for his teammates during Friday's game. He controlled the paint and had multiple blocked shots on a couple of key positions for the Royals.  

 “I just loved our guys' energy,” Mayberry said. “We had a couple scoring spells first half … I think we only scored one field goal maybe in the last six minutes of the game, but I love our guys responding with defensive stops at the end.”

After trailing for most of the game, Windermere Prep fought back late in the fourth quarter to claim a three-point lead with six minutes left in the game. 

“We got down early,” said Windermere Prep’s head coach Ben Wilson. “We struggled with execution. … I thought we rallied; they dogged-in and got some big stops.”

Windermere Prep’s leading scorer David Nickelberry, a Memphis signee, helped the Lakers take the lead in the fourth quarter after draining back-to-back 3-pointers. However, his late game heroics were not enough for the Lakers to defeat the Royals.

Nickelberry finished the game with 16 points.

 “It’s a tough loss — we wanted to win,” Wilson said. “But, I loved the effort our guys gave and with playoffs right around the corner—starting next week, I feel good.”


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