Pace Academy locks up Region 6 AA after defeating the Lovett Lions 66-50 at home Friday evening. The Knights were led by future Florida State Seminole Matthew Cleveland who finished with 18 points.

The end score was no indication of how close this game was from start to finish. The first quarter belonged to the Knights as they were led by Cleveland and forward Cole Middleton. Tough play in the paint led to both combining for 12 points as they lead 16-9.

Defense by the Lions kept them in striking distance all game, especially in the second quarter. Forward Ryan Mutumbo had two big blocks but foul trouble limited his play as he picked up his third foul. Mutumbo led the Lions with five points in the second quarter as they went down 26-21 going into halftime.

Halftime adjustments benefited the Knights as they came out firing on all cylinders. Middleton got it started, hitting another three-pointer. Cleveland came back and attacked the basket on the next possession finishing with a tough midrange jumper.

Mutumbo did everything he could to keep the Lions in the game, scoring nine points in the third quarter. In the end, the Lions still trailed 42-33 at the end of the third quarter.

Once the fourth quarter began, the Lions’ chances of taking the lead disappeared thanks to the great play of Knights forward Josh Reed and Cleveland. Reed punished the Lions off the dribble and inside the paint as the Lions had no answer for him. Lions turnovers created opportunities on the fast break in which Reed converted. He would finish the quarter with nine points.

Cleveland iced any chance of the Lions coming back going full court and finishing with the layup as the Lions called timeout.

Reed finished the game with 20 points while Cleveland followed with 18.

Mutumbo fouled out late in the fourth but finished with 20 points as well.

The Knights will host Therell Saturday while the Lions will wait until Tuesday to host Therell. Both games will conclude the regular season for both teams.

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