Adelson School’s boys basketball team knew the stakes were high in Thursday’s regular-season finale.
The Lions were trying to keep their perfect league record intact and secure the No. 1 seed in the Division IV Southern League playoffs beginning next week.
Rom Izkovich made sure of that, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the second half to give the Lions a 40-36 victory over Spring Mountain at Saville Middle School.
“I thought we played as a team,” Adelson coach Rob Blackwell said. “We understood what was at stake.
“These guys believed in the system and each other. They trusted each other. When you have a team since day one, with a chemistry already at its apex, and you have guys with some ability, you can do some wonderful things in this sport.”
After storming out to a 16-10 first quarter lead, the Lions (16-1, 8-0) were outscored 12-3 in the second quarter and went into the locker room trailing 22-19.
Izkovich stepped up in the second half for Adelson, which was missing one of its key players, Sean Perry who was ill. Izkovich scored eight points in the fourth quarter and was 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in the game.
“He waited for his spots,” Blackwell said. “He’s extremely unselfish. He’s a hell of a practice player. He’s the first player in the gym and the last player out of the gym; a coach’s dream.”
Senior Robert Blackwell scored seven of his 11 points in the first half for the Lions, whose only loss this season was a 54-48 setback to Division III Calvary Chapel on Dec. 10.
“(We’ll go) as far as they want to go,” Blackwell said. “As long as they continue to believe and work hard, I think the sky is the limit.”
Devonte Richey led Spring Mountain (12-13, 6-2) with nine points, and George Brown scored seven.
Harlow Hawkins had six points and 11 rebounds, and teammate Lagarrian Jones added six points and nine boards for the Eagles, who are the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
Both teams have a first round bye in the six-team region playoffs.
Adelson is making just its second playoff appearance in school history. The Lions made the playoffs for the first time last season. Spring Mountain is trying to make it back to the state tournament for the third consecutive season.
“I’ve already told (my kids) we’ll see (Adelson) again in the regional championship,” Spring Mountain coach Ed Cheltenham said. “I think we can go all the way to the state championship.”