24 Jan 2024

SIAA GAME NIGHT: DME Academy at West Oaks Academy

A pair of powerhouse programs in the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA) squared off last night as DME Academy made a relatively short trip down I-4 to take on West Oaks in Orlando.

The Flame of West Oaks got out to a quick start thanks to the play of 6’5 senior Jalen “Roc” Lee.  He scored the first five points of the contest in leading West Oaks to a 7-2 lead midway through the nine-minute first quarter.  DME closed the gap behind the interior scoring of 6’8 junior Babatundu Durodola and got to within one, 11-10, after the first quarter of play.

The score remained close in the second quarter.  DME took a brief 14-13 lead but West Oaks knocked down a three to make the score 14-13 with 4:30 remaining in the period.  That was the start of an 8-0 run by the Flame as the score reached 21-14 in their favor with just under three minutes to play in the period, forcing a DME timeout.  That seven-point margin would hold until DME’s Moustapha Thiem, a 7’0 junior, scored inside just before the halftime horn to make the score 26-20 in favor of West Oaks.

West Oaks came out and played with passion in the third period.  The Flame grew its lead to double-digits, 38-28, midway through the quarter.  DME was finding success on the offensive end behind Durodola but West Oaks would usually counter with a bucket and/or free throws from Lee.  With three quarters in the books, West Oaks had a ten-point lead in a low scoring affair for an SIAA game, 46-36.

Things changed quickly in the final period.  DME ran off seven straight points before West Oaks called a timeout.  With 4:38 to play, DME tied the score at 47-47.  DME took advantage of its size inside to make its run.  DME took its first lead of the game at 49-47 after a transition basket from Durodola.  West Oaks was quick to answer and led 52-51 with 1:37 to go.  DME scored on a drive to grab a one-point lead with just under a minute to play.  West Oaks came right back as Lee was fouled on a drive.  He made the first free throw but missed the second, tying the game at 53-53.  West Oaks was well under the bonus foul limit and used those fouls judiciously as time wound down.  DME was unable to get a decent look to win the game so we headed into overtime.

DME went on top first with a three pointer but West Oaks’ Jayden Joseph, a 6’1 sophomore, responded with one of two free throws and then a score on a drive  to tie the game at 56-56.  Surprisingly, no more points were scored for either team the rest of the way, so a second overtime period was needed.

Two free throws from 6’8 senior Ibrahima Traore and 1 from 6’2 senior Telario Pringle gave West Oaks a 59-56 advantage with just over a minute gone in the second OT.  DME got to within one on a drive but Lee did the same for West Oaks push their lead back to three.  Each team hit one of two free throws and DME got to within 62-61 with just under a minute to play.  On West Oaks’ next possession, 5’10 senior Willie Sheppard hit a three to put the Flame up 65-61.  DME drew a foul but could only make one of two free throws with forty-five seconds left.  DME didn’t foul as the shot clock was still in play on the ensuing West Oaks possession.  However, they failed to block out and Sheppard snuck in for a putback, giving West Oaks a 67-62 lead.  DME now had to rush to score as quickly as possible.  A quick, long three was off and West Oaks secured the rebound.  DME had no choice but to foul and Lee responded with a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left.  DME didn’t even try a last second shot and West Oaks won a tough one in double-overtime, 69-62.

West Oaks was led by Lee with 23 points.  Joseph added 13 points and 6’3 junior Maliq Sosa came off the bench to score 10 points.

For DME, Durodola led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before fouling out.  Theim added 14 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and rejected 5 shots.



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