Palm Beach Lakes boys basketball falls to Lincoln in state semifinal

Palm Beach Lakes could have used a few extra inches against Tallahassee-Lincoln on Friday afternoon in its Class 8A boys basketball state semifinal against Tallahassee-Lincoln.

6-foot-8 center Dwight Wilson had 18 points and eight rebounds, and the taller Trojans dominated inside in an 86-60 victory against the Rams at the Lakeland Center.

With the win, Lincoln (24-3) advanced to Saturday’s state championship game against Tampa-Sickles.

The Rams are headed home after a season in which they won both district and regional championships and finished 25-4.

“This team exceeded my expectations,” Palm Beach Lakes coach Lorenzo Hands said. “They played very well. They started the season unranked. To get this far and at this stage, it’s been a pleasure. It’s been a pleasant surprise. I’m very happy for the team. We just fell a little short.”

Palm Beach Lakes got off to a slow start on offense, hitting the game’s first field goal but then enduring a nearly four-minute scoring drought.

The Trojans jumped out to a 7-2 lead during that span, but the Rams tied it up on consecutive field goals from Dovicson Louis and Ty Hands.

Lincoln came right back behind Wilson, a James Madison signee who helped key a 10-0 run to close the first quarter.

The Rams shot just 21 percent in the quarter, and continued to struggle from the floor throughout the first half.

Wilson and 6-foot-8 teammate Darrion Fluker forced Palm Beach Lakes to go outside, and the Rams’ shots — often hurried — weren’t falling.

“Our main focus was to make sure that our main bigs attacked their bigs,” said Trojans coach Ray Daly, whose team finished with a 51-27 rebounding advantage. “We knew they were a little smaller, but they’re athletic. I knew we had the size on them.”

Still, Palm Beach Lakes was able to pull within 26-20 midway through the second quarter before the Trojans pulled away over the final three minutes.

Lincoln, which shot 50 percent in the first half, led 35-22 at halftime.

Things didn’t get much better for the Rams to open the second half.

The Trojans’ big men continued to dominate inside, and Palm Beach Lakes couldn’t counter it.

The Rams hit just 19 percent from long range, and 32 percent overall.

“They have two players not only with size, but they’re strong kids,” Hands said. “We came in with a game plan, and we didn’t execute it as well as we’ve done with previous games. But that’s what great teams do. When you come in and you have a game plan, they don’t allow you to execute those things.”

Lincoln built a 15-point lead early in the third quarter, and pulled away from there.

Palm Beach Lakes guard Lavorris Givins led all scorers with 26 points, while forward Daiquan Wyatt added 18 points and seven rebounds.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

LB Cristian Garcia continuing Rudy-like narrative with Gators scholarship

GAINESVILLE, Fla.  — Cristian Garcia has told the story before, but it’s even more impressive now. Following a Rudy-like narrative arc, Garcia spent the 2014 season working on the Florida football program’s video staff while attending Santa Fe College across town. He ultimately was accepted into UF, earned...
Sound Off: Can Florida realistically use three quarterbacks against Michigan?

The Florida Gators are getting closer to their marquee season-opener against Michigan. With each passing day, the fanbase is getting more excited, the Gators are getting amped up to play in AT&T Stadium and coach Jim McElwain has less time to answer all the questions he has about his team before they kick off against the...
Steve Spurrier gives his take on thought of Florida-Georgia leaving Jacksonville

Steve Spurrier likes the Georgia-Florida game the way it is, thank you very much. As relayed by Dawgs247’s Rusty Mansell on Wednesday, the former Gators coach spoke on SiriusXM about the hypothetical of the Florida-Georgia game leaving Jacksonville, Fla. The buzz started when ESPN’s Lee Corso said...
Former Dwyer star Parr remains in FAU quarterback battle
Former Dwyer star Parr remains in FAU quarterback battle

In just a month, former Dwyer High School star and redshirt sophomore Daniel Parr has gone from third-string quarterback to a candidate in Florida Atlantic’s starting-quarterback competition. As the days draw closer to the Owls’ Sept. 1 opener against Navy and the obvious need for a decision, FAU coach Lane Kiffin discussed Parr’s...
Wednesday practice report and video of Florida’s QBs and WRs

GAINESVILLE, Fla.  — Another unrevealing press conference with Jim McElwain followed by another day of rotating a different quarterback through the early first-team reps at practice. With that, dissecting Florida’s quarterback situation remains guesswork. After Luke Del Rio led the first-team offense during...
More Stories