We returned to Apopka High School to take in Day Two of the Earl Graham Metro vs. Florida Challenge.
Winter Garden West Orange vs. Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy
CFCA comes in as the #2 team in Class 2A while West Orange is always a gritty team that gives opponents a boatload of trouble. The Eagles of CFCA get off to a quick start, jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes, forcing a West Orange timeout. The Warriors then ripped off five straight points to get to within 10-7, but CFCA finished off the quarter with a 6-0 run making it 16-7 after eight minutes.
That Eagle streak continued into the second quarter. They flew out on a 9-2 run during the first four minutes of the period. It looked like CFCA would make a mockery of the game but West Orange found a spark, finishing the quarter on a 16-5 run to get back to within seven at 30-23 at the break.
A CFCA 3 for West Orange 2 trade-off made it an eight-point game very early in the third quarter. Then the roof fell in for West Orange. CFCA’s press started to take its toll. Warrior turnovers turned into Eagle points and midway thru the period, CFCA led 41-29. It didn’t stop there as West Orange was forced to call a time out after a 9-0 run made the 50-29 with three minutes to play in the third. Relief didn’t come for West Orange until the horn sounded to end the quarter. By then, CFCA was up 56-33.
The fourth quarter was a continuation of the Eagles’ dominance. They reeled off eleven points in a row before West Orange could get on the score board. Eventually, the running clock kicked in at 2:20 remaining with the score 70-35. CFCA would go on to win by a final of 74-41.
CFCA was led by Nick Rodriguez with 18 points while Antonio Redding had 15 points and Felipe Oliveira added 11 points.
West Orange was paced by Kyle Behrle with 12 points.
Apopka vs. Lake Wales
It was a bit of a slow start for both teams. Apopka’s trapping defense forced some early Highlander turnovers and got the Blue Darters out to an 8-4 lead after the first four minutes of play. Lake Wales eventually settled down and from that point on kept pace with Apopka. After one quarter of play, Apopka led by just four at 14-10.
The Blue Darters pushed their lead to eight early in the second period but Lake Wales would take advantage of some extra possessions off of offensive rebounds to get back into the contest. Apopka led by six, 22-16 at the four minute mark but a 6-0 run by Lake Wales in the period of one minute brought the Highlanders to within two points and forced an Apopka timeout. Apopka scored a quick bucket, but four points by Lake Wales to end the half tied the score at 24-24.
The Blue Darters got hot early in the third quarter, opening the period on a 7-0 run. That was just the beginning off a tough quarter for the Highlanders. With five minutes to go in the quarter, Lake Wales called a timeout down 33-25. It didn’t help as Apopka closed out the period with a 12-2 run. Heading into the final period of play, Apopka had built an eighteen point lead, 45-27.
The Blue Darters didn’t take their foot off the gas in the final period. At the four minute mark, they had pushed their advantage to twenty-five, 61-36. A bit later, Apopka emptied their bench and Lake Wales made a furious run. It wasn’t enough as Apopka walked away with an impressive 68-50 victory.
The Blue Darters were led by Phillip Tepper with 16 points and Sam Alexis with 14 points.
Lake Wales got 18 points from Sevastian Rosado and 14 points from Christopher Dorsainvil.
Ocoee vs. Auburndale
Auburndale got out to an early 6-2 lead in the first quarter but Ocoee was able to rally and tie the score at 8-8 with four minutes gone. The lead bounced back and forth between the two teams for the remainder of the quarter. When the horn sounded after eight minutes of play, the Bloodhounds of Auburndale led be one, 15-14.
The lead stayed with Auburndale for the first few minutes of the second quarter. However, Ocoee switched to a zone defense and started forcing turnovers. The Knights took advantage and with four minutes gone in the period, had grabbed the lead at 23-22. Auburndale would be unable to put the ball in the basket the rest of the quarter while Ocoee got some transition opportunities and extended their lead. At the break, the Knights led 29-22.
Auburndale got out to a quick start and got to within 29-28 with just over six minutes to play in the third, forcing an Ocoee timeout. Auburndale eventually took the lead and had scored eleven straight points before the Knights notched a bucket in the period. From there the teams battled back and forth with Ocoee eventually tying the game at 35-35 with a minute to play in the third. The teams exchanged baskets and entered the final period tied at 37-37.
Ocoee got on top first and led by two, 44-42, midway thru the fourth quarter. Auburndale re-took the lead with two straight baskets to lead 46-44 and called timeout with 2:30 left to play. Ocoee tied the game quickly but Auburndale got a stick back on their next possession. Auburndale pushed their lead to four but Ocoee knocked down a three to get to within one, 50-49, with seventeen seconds to play. Forced to foul, Ocoee finally got that foul with 8.5 seconds remaining. Auburndale missed the front-end of the one-and-one and Ocoee got the rebound. After a timeout, Ocoee had to go the length of the court. They got a good look from about fifteen feet, but it didn’t fall. Auburndale was able to hold on to win by the score of 50-49.
Auburndale was led by Nehemiah Turner with 19 points while Kervin Knaggs added 12 points.
Ocoee got ten points each from Justynn Thomas and Ty Lloyd.
Orlando Horizon vs Mount Dora
Lake Buena Vista is in its first year of existence, so we didn’t really know what to expect. The first quarter was lacking action to be kind. Mt. Dora hit an early two but the Vipers first basket was a three to give them a brief lead. Only one more basket, a putback by Mt. Dora, was scored in the period. Heading into the second quarter, the score was only 4-3 in favor of the Hurricanes.
Action picked up in the ensuing period. For a time, it looked like Mt. Dora would run away with it, building their margin to 17-6, forcing a time out by Lake Buena Vista. The script got flipped after the timeout. Mt. Dora began to commit turnovers and the Vipers took advantage. They mounted a comeback, outscoring the Hurricanes 16-11 to get to within six, 28-22, at the break.
Mount Dora opened up the third quarter with a 10-0 run. In all, the Hurricanes outscored the Vipers 14-7 in the period, extending their lead to double-digits, 42-29, with one quarter to play.
Lake Buena Vista didn’t get much closer in the fourth quarter but to their credit they didn’t quit when things looked bleak. They stayed even with Mount Dora but fell by a final score of 56-44.
Mount Dora was led by Conner Melady with 22 points while Alex Croeze added 11 points.
LBV was paced by Sammie Gilles with 18 points while Kenold Pierre added 14 points.
Orlando Olympia vs. Bartow
The hoped-for matchup between dynamic juniors Edgerrin James of Olympia and Kjai Parker of Bartow didn’t materialize as Parker is out with a sprained ankle. Still, these are two of the better teams in their respective classifications, and a good ball game was expected.
Those expectations died a quick death as Olympia unleashed a furious full-court defensive blitzkrieg on a young Yellow Jacket squad. The Titans were also dialed in with their perimeter shooting and were up 16-4 midway thru the opening period. Bartow simply could not find an easy shot and Olympia wasn’t missing no matter what the Yellow Jacket defense was. After one quarter of play, Olympia was dominating by the score of 32-16.
Things did not get better for Bartow in the second quarter. At one point Olympia led by forty and a running clock for the entire second half looked like a certainty. However, Bartow got enough of a spurt to close to within 49-16 at the break.
That running clock kicked in after Olympia hit a three on the opening possession. Even then, the Titans didn’t take their foot off the gas. They led by forty-two, 63-21, after the third and had a final margin of fifty, 77-27, when it was all said and done.
Olympia was led by James with 23 points while Josh Meo added 12 points and Kamran James contributed 11 points.
Bartow’s Edward Wiggins finished with six points to lead the team.