We took in the first round of the Class 8A District 5 boys basketball tournament hosted by Windermere High School on Monday night. With eight teams in the district, four games were on tap.
#3 OCOEE vs. #6 LAKE MINNEOLA
The first quarter was played at a fast pace as midway thru Ocoee led 12-11. For the rest of the quarter, the Knights would outscore the Hawks 9-2 thanks to going 7-8 from the foul line to lead 21-13 after one period. In the second period, Lake Minneola got back into the game by forcing turnovers with their press. The Hawks took a brief 26-25 lead but by the four minute mark the score was tied at twenty-eight. Ocoee would eventually re-take the lead to go up by three at 33-30 at the half.
The third quarter was played very tightly by both teams, with neither team able to gain more than a two possession advantage. Ocoee led by one at 38-37 heading into the final period. The score was tied at 44 at the midpoint and it was clear this game was going down to the wire. With just under two minutes to play, Lake Minneola had a four point lead at 50-46 and looked in control. Ocoee cut it to one on their next possession with a three point play. Lake Minneola responded with one of two free throws but a bucket inside by Ocoee with 25 seconds left tied the game at 51. Lake Minneola had a chance to win but missed both free throws with one second left. The game headed into overtime tied at 51.
Lake Minneola scored first in the OT but a three point play from the Knights gave them a 54-53 lead with just over two minutes to play in the extra session. Lake Minneola tied the game with one of two free throws after an offensive rebound with just under a minute to go. Ocoee was fouled inadvertently with twelve seconds to play and hit both free throws for a two point lead. Lake Minneola turned the ball over with five seconds to play, eventually ending their hopes for the upset. Ocoee hit one of two free throws, giving Lake Minneola a chance with four seconds left. The shot fell short and Ocoee wins an opening game thriller in OT, 57-54.
Ocoee was led by Kordell Brown with 23 points while David Green finished with 17.
For Lake Minneola John Barney led the way with 15 points while Julian Cleese added 10 points.
#2 EDGEWATER vs. #7 EAST RIDGE
Unlike the last contest, this one was over fairly quickly. The Eagles of Edgewater were intent on getting out to a big lead early and that is just what they did. Up 19-12 after the first quarter, Edgewater outscored the Knights 21-9 in the second quarter to lead by 19 at the half, 40-21.
There was no let down in the third quarter by the Eagles. With one minute left I the period, the running clock rule kicked in with the score 63-27. Ultimately, Edgewater proved to be too deep, athletic, and talented and rolled to an 81-43 victory.
Edgewater will play Ocoee at 5:30PM Wednesday at Windermere in the first semi-final.
Edgewater was led by Michael Eads with 15 points, followed by Navuan Peterson with 13 and Lorenzo Jones with 12 points.
For East Ridge, Jose Morales tallied 11 points while Bryan Lupianez contributed 10 points.
#4 WESTPORT vs. #5 LAKE HOWELL
The Silver Hawks of Lake Howell got out to an early lead thanks to some solid perimeter shooting, hitting a trio of three point shots to build a 14-8 lead after one quarter of play. Lake Howell maintained that lead throughout the second quarter but the Wolfpack of Westport started to have success with their full-court press. Lake Howell still led at the half by a score of 29-24 but the crowd could feel the momentum shifting.
Westport continued with the pressure to open the third quarter and it quickly paid dividends. By the four minute mark, the Wolfpack had their first lead of the contest at 34-33. Lake Howell took back the lead briefly but when the horn sounded to end the period, Westport was up by three at 42-39.
Lake Howell converted a three point play on their opening possession of the fourth quarter to tie the game. The lead would continue to change hands or be tied throughout the fourth quarter. With the score tied at 51 with 1:15 to play, Westport got a steal and score. A few seconds later Lake Howell tied it back up with a pair of free throws. On the Wolfpack’s next possession, they perfectly executed a back door cut and scored to re-take the lead. After a timeout, Lake Howell connected on a three with fifteen seconds left to give them a one point lead at 56-55. Westport didn’t waste any time. They got to the basket and scored with seven second left to take back the lead. Lake Howell pushed the ball up the floor and a three point prayer was answered for Anthony Chavis, who was also fouled on the play with one second left on the clock. Wisely, he missed the free throw and Westport was unable to get off a shot. Lake Howell would advance to the semis with a thrilling 59-57 win.
Jonathan Lawrence led the Silver Hawks with 25 points while both Evan Owens and Matthew Sutton each contributed 10 points.
For Westport, D’Shaun Brown led the way with 14 points while Diquez James added 11 points.
#1 WINDERMERE vs. #8 EAST RIVER
Much like the earlier #2 vs. #7 game, top seed Windermere was looking to get this one over in a hurry. They led 17-5 with two minutes left in the first but East River clawed back to finish the first quarter down eight at 19-11. The Wolverines went on a 10-4 run in the first four minutes of the second period to build a double-digit lead. By the time the horn sounded to end the first half, Windermere was up sixteen at 38-22.
In the third period, the host team continued to press its advantage. The sixteen point lead to start the third quarter ballooned to twenty-six by the end of the period with the score 60-34. Windermere finally got to the desired running clock margin with 4:25 left in the game at 72-36 and went on to win by the score of 74-37.
Windermere will take on Lake Howell at 7:00PM in the other semi-final Wednesday night at Windermere.
For the Wolverines, Dakota Rivers paced them with 16 points while Dante Love, Darrell Armstrong, and Elliott Yorke each went off for 15 points.
For East River, Bryan Sanders led the way with 14 points while Kale Ruano added 10 points.