With leading scorer Andre Nation sidelined by foul trouble, the Durant High boys basketball team could only manage eight second-half points Saturday night as Lake Wales blew open a close game with a 64-38 victory in the Class 5A-Region 2 final.
Nation picked up his fourth foul with 6 minutes, 59 seconds left in the third quarter. He returned at the 4:06 mark with his team trailing by eight, 38-30, but fouled out 20 seconds later as he attempted to stop the Highlanders' Oshey Washington's layup attempt after a steal. Washington scored a game-high 23 points.
"Andre makes us go," Durant coach Trent Tice said. "Without him there we fell apart."
The Cougars (21-5) held an 18-13 lead at the end of the first behind Nation's seven points. He dunked on an alley-oop, hit a jumper and knocked down a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left. Nation, averaging 22.8 points per game, finished with nine.
"We knew we could play with this team, we just couldn't finish it," said Nation. "I should have been smarter (when I got into foul trouble)."
Despite the loss of Nation, the Cougars only trailed 42-36 at the end of the third as Lake Wales (29-2) missed 10 of their free throw opportunities. Their only basket in the third quarter came when Je'Twan Smith beat the press for a basket at the 3:04 mark. Mike Crocker scored their only points in the fourth quarter.