We ventured to Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs for the Class 9A District 2 final between #1 seed Seminole out of Sanford and the #2 seed Oviedo. Seminole lost in December at Oviedo by just three while Oviedo fell on the road just a couple of weeks ago by six. With such close scores, this rubber match was expected to be quite close and intense.
It didn’t start off that way. Seminole got out of the gate quickly and scored the first nine points of the contest. Their lead grew to as much as 19-5 with just under two minutes to play in the period before Oviedo righted the ship a bit and got to within 21-9 when the quarter horn sounded. The Lions of Oviedo made a run in the second quarter and got to within ten at 30-20 with just over four minutes to play. Seminole responded with an 8-0 run to seize back control of the contest. By the time half-time came around, Seminole was up nineteen at 43-24.
Midway thru the third, Seminole had grown its lead to 52-31 and things looked bleak for Oviedo. Then little things started to happen to turn the tide. Seminole missed some shots that were going in during the first half and Oviedo was taking better care of the ball and getting good shots because of it. At the end of the third quarter, Seminole was still in command at 57-42 but Oviedo wasn’t going away without a fight.
The Lions’ run continued in the final period and with four minutes left to play, the margin was only ten at 63-53. With just over one minute to play, James Groetsch of Oviedo hit a three to make the score 66-60. Now forced to foul, Oviedo sent Brian Brooks of Seminole to the line and he made both. Oviedo got the ball up the court quickly and Groetsch took the first available open three pointer. He was fouled and made all three of his free throws to make it 68-63 with fifty seconds left. O’shae Baker hit one of two free throws to push the Seminole margin to six but a quick basket inside from Braden Dennny of Oviedo with 23 seconds left gave the Lions some hope. After trying for a steal, the Lions fouled Marshaun West of Seminole and he made one of two with ten seconds left. Oviedo quickly pushed the ball upcourt and Mamush Galloway scored with six seconds left to make it a one possession game at 70-67. Oviedo quickly fouled Baker to stop the clock. He drilled both free throws to ice the contest and Seminole held on to win by the score of 72-67.
Baker led Seminole with 22 points while Ladarron Cleveland added 17 and Timothy Adside contributed 16 points in the win.
Galloway of Oviedo led all scorers with 25 points while Groestsch finished with 15 points.
As a side note, the referees weren’t tolerating any harassment from the spectators. On two separate occasions, a fan was escorted out of the gym by Seminole County Sherriff’s Deputies after getting a little too vociferous in their displeasure about foul and non-foul calls. Don’t be surprised to see more of that as the playoffs move forward.