One of the few district tournaments to have every team play on Monday night was Class 8A, District 5 in Orlando. Four games took place at host Ocoee High School to determine who would move on to the regional tournament portion of the state series championships.
Ocala West Port (#4) vs. Lake Minneola (#5)
We got to the Ocoee gym midway thru the third period to find West Port up by six. Our presence must have inspired Lake Minneola as they finished the third period up by three at 57-54. The lead didn’t last long and the fourth quarter went back and forth the entire way. With the score tied at 66 with forty-five seconds to play, Lake Minneola’s Robin Danes converted two free throws after being fouled inside. West Port was able to keep alive their missed shot on the following possession and with three seconds left got a put back to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Overtime was just as competitive as the first four quarters. Lake Minneola scored first but it didn’t take long for West Port to respond. With ten seconds left and the score tied at 76, West Port, for whatever reason, intentionally fouled. Lake Minneola’s Kobe Hart connected on both free throws to put the Hawks up two. Undaunted, West Port’s Donatello Shaw drove to the basket and scored with three seconds to play. After a timeout by Lake Minneola, a long inbounds pass went awry and we headed into Overtime #2 tied at 78.
After a bucket inside by Lake Minneola to open the second OT, West Port hit a three to put them up 81-80. Lake Minneola converted a three point play on their next possession and after West Port turned the ball over, the Hawks scored again to make it a two possession game with one minute to play. West Port would not score again and Lake Minneola advanced to the next round by the score of 86-81.
Danes led Minneola with 17 points while Shaw led West Port with 20 points.
Edgewater (#1) vs. East River (#8)
The Eagles got out quickly on East River and led by five at the midway point of the first quarter and 25-18 heading into the second period. Both teams struggled to score at the beginning of the next quarter and after East River scored with just under five minutes left in the half to make it 25-20, Edgewater called a time out. The magic words must have been uttered because at that point the Eagles went on a 12-4 run to make the score 37-24 at the half.
East River gave great effort in the third quarter, cutting a nineteen point margin down to eleven at 51-40 with 1:30 left in the period. Two quick baskets by Edgewater ended the third and any chance of East River mounting a comeback. The Eagles dominated the final period to win by the score of 78-47.
Shakur Poteat led the Eagles with 20 points, going 6-7 from deep in the process. Trevon Cason added 14 points as did Robert Allen.
East River’s Samuel Ihekwoaba led them with 17 points.
Eastridge (#2) vs. Lake Howell (#7)
Lake Howell was hit with a technical for dunking in warm-ups, so the game started with a pair of free throws for Eastridge and an early 2-0 lead. Eastridge was up six midway thru the period but by the end of the quarter, Lake Howell had cut the margin to just two at 16-14. In the second, Lake Howell tied the score at 22 by the five minute mark and took a one point lead with two minutes until halftime. A 6-3 run by Eastridge would give them a two point 34-32 lead at the break.
The third quarter was nip-and-tuck the entire eight minutes with neither team gaining a sustainable advantage. With one quarter remaining both teams had scored 52 points. Eastridge scored five straight points to open the fourth and with six minutes to play, Lake Howell called timeout down eight at 63-55. The youthful Hawks were unable to recover and Eastridge’s 77-63 win was far more difficult than the final score indicates.
Omar Morales led the Knights with 24 points. Darion Carter added 18, Kendrick Brown tallied 15 and Daniel Vaughn finished in double figures with 11 points.
For Lake Howell, Jonathan Lawrence had 15 points, Noble Crawford added 13 and Anthony Chavis contributed 11 points.
Windermere (#3) vs. Ocoee (#6)
In the nightcap, host school Ocoee took on the #3 seed, Windermere. The Wolverines of Windermere are a first year school and have no seniors, so it is quite an accomplishment for the program to finish in the top three of a very competitive district in its first year of existence. After the first period of play, it looked like Windermere was going to be ungracious guests as they were up 18-5. By the four minute mark of the second period, Windermere had double up the score at 28-14 and looked in complete control. However, nothing could have been further from the truth as Ocoee ended the half on an 8-0 run to get to within 28-22 at the break.
Ocoee was finally able to get all the way back and tie the score at 35 with 2:30 left in the third but by the end of the period found themselves down one at 39-38. In the final period, it seemed the host Knights were energized while the young Wolverines were perplexed. The game remained close and was tied at 50 apiece with one minute to play. Ocoee’s Jamel Pierre connected on a pair of free throws to give them the lead then converted another pair after Windemere was forced to foul after missing a shot on their end. It was now 54-50 in favor of Ocoee with just 25 seconds left. Windermere’s Dakota Rivers dunked home a teammate’s miss to get within two but Ocoee was able to hold on for the win at the free throw line to win by five at 57-52.
Pierre led Ocoee with 17 points while Derrick Rucker added 15 points.
Windemere received 21 points from Rivers and 17 points from Josh Colon.