We took in the first day of The Florida Get Down held at the new Grand Avenue Center in Downtown Orlando. This two-day event featured an excellent lineup of showcase games featuring some of the better programs in Central Florida and attracting good teams from not just across the state but also beyond the state’s borders into Alabama and Georgia.
Game One: Williston vs. Daytona Beach DME Academy
The Red Devils of Williston are on a short list of contenders for the Class 1A state title this season while DME is a strong program out of the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA). The score was only 3-2 after the first four minutes as both teams missed shots around the rim. The rest of the first quarter was much the same but Williston had a one-point lead, 7-6, going into the second quarter. The score was tied at 9-9 after the first minute plus of play in the period when DME caught a spark and reeled off five straight points to lead 14-9 midway thru the period. Undeterred, Williston responded with a 9-0 run, taking an 18-14 lead with 1:30 left in the half. That lead would grow to six, 22-16, when halftime came.
DME climbed back into the contest and was down only one, 25-24, with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter and Williston took a time out. From that point on until the end of the period, the teams swapped leads on a couple of occasions. When the horn sounded to end the third period, Williston’s lead was down to one at 38-37. DME started the fourth with a slam to re-take the lead. Williston responded with four straight points to go back in front. DME extended its defense and that yield results as with four minutes remining in the game, DME lead 49-44. Williston was still in the game and trailed by just five with 1:30 left, but a DME three-point play but them up by eight. Williston would not get closer and DME would go on to win by the score of 61-52.
DME was led by 6’8 senior Petras Padegrimas with 20 points. Baraka Okojie, a 6’3 junior, added 13 points.
For Williston, 6’2 senior Greg Maxwell led the way with 16 points.
Game Two: Gainesville P.K. Yonge vs. Jacksonville Potter’s House
Another contest between a small school power (3A Yonge) vs. an SIAA program (Potter’s House). This game started similarly to the first with both teams struggled to score. Yonge had an 8-3 lead with under four minutes to play, but Potter’s House finished the quarter on an 8-0 run to lead 11-8 going into the second period. That run would carry over and Potter’s House would score six more unanswered until Yonge get itself untangled. Yonge would then rip off a 10-2 run and trail 19-18 with under four minutes left in the half. The good times didn’t last as Potter’s House closed out the half with an 8-1 run tolead by eight, 27-19.
A 7-0 run by Potter’s House to start the third quarter. The size and length for Potter’s House was making every shot difficult for Yonge and offensive rebounds were rare. Meanwhile, Potter’s House was getting some easy baskets in transition. Yonge found itself down fifteen, 34-19, with just over five minutes to play in the quarter and called timeout. Yonge stayed even from that point but that didn’t cut into the Potter’s House lead and with one quarter to play, the Lions were up by the score of 42-26. Potter’s House continued to pull away in the final period to win comfortably 56-32.
Bol Agu, a 6’8 senior, led Potter’s House with 15 points. Myles Hosten, a 6’7 junior and 6’8 junior Samuel Asavi each tallied 11 points.
For Yonge, 6’2 senior Moses Horne led the way with 10 points.
Game Three: Cleveland (TN) vs. Thomasville (GA)
Outside of national tournaments like the Kreul Classic or the Kingdom of the Sun, it is rare to get a matchup of two out-of-state teams. However, this turned out to be a very entertaining contest for Florida fans of high school basketball.
Both teams seemed a bit travel-weary to start the contest as the score was only 5-4 in favor of Thomasville after the first four minutes. Thomasville’s problem was turnover while Cleveland’s issue stemmed from missing shots. Cleveland went on a 6-0 run to get some space but Thomasville responded by hitting a three to get to within 10-8 at the end of the first quarter. In the second period, Cleveland gets going and pushes its margin to seven with just over four minutes to play in the half. Thomasville didn’t fold and went on a run of their own, getting to within one, 21-20. Cleveland then hit a three to make it a two-possession contest. Thomasville would scrap and claw but when the halftime horn sounded, Cleveland was up three 27-24.
Thomasville scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a brief lead, but Cleveland came right back. They went on a 10-2 run and were up 37-31 with under four minutes left in the quarter. Thomasville came right back with a run of its own and led briefly 38-37. Cleveland finished the period with a 5-0 run to lead by four, 42-38. The lead would change hands several times in the final period. With fifteen seconds left, Cleveland hit a three to tie the game at 53-53. Thomasville wasn’t able to respond and the game headed to overtime.
In the overtime, Thomasville grabbed the lead with a three and Cleveland responded in kind on their next possession. Both teams would each score one more basket and after one four-minute overtime period the score was tied at 58-58.
The second overtime was all Cleveland as they opened with a 6-0 run and never looked back. The closest Thomasville would get would be 64-61. Cleveland would extend its lead at the foul line to win by nine, 70-61.
Cleveland was led by Jasen Brooks with 20 points. Judah Sault added 19 points while Aryone Thomas added 14 points.
Thomasville got a game-high 29 points from Anthony Dent while both Jeray Randall and Xavier Burkes each added 11 points.
Game Four: Tampa Blake vs Sumter County (GA)
Sumter got off to a fast start, leading 8-2 after the first four minutes. Blake was not bothered and finished out the quarter on a blistering 13-3 run to go up by four, 15-11 after one quarter of play. Blake would extend its lead throughout the second period. They led by the score of 21-16 midway thru and then turned the game up a notch. Heading into the break, Blake led by thirteen, 33-20.
Blake continued to dominate and led by as much as twenty midway thru the third quarter. Sumter continued to play hard and cut the deficit in half with the score 48-38 going into the fourth quarter. However, Sumter could not get any closer as Blake maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way to win by a score of 66-53.
Blake was led by Mahlik Brody-Ayers with 17 points while King Asad finished with 11 points.
For Sumter, Brandon Pope led all scorers with 19 points while Devan Dowdell added 11 points.
Game Five: Quincy Crossroad Academy vs. AL Huntsville Lee
Crossroad has moved back to Class 1A after the most recent FHSAA re-classification. Lee has been a title contender in Alabama for several season and likes to play an up-tempo style.
The first quarter was just that. In a bit of a surprise, Crossroad was the first out of the gate and built a 13-10 lead midway thru the period. They would finish the first quarter on a 10-4 run to lead by nine, 23-14. Crossroad continued to own the game in the second quarter. They had an eleven-point lead 33-22, midway thru the period. At the break, Crossroad was up by ten, 38-28, and looked very much in control.
In the third quarter, it looked like a different Crossroad team emerged from the locker room. Bad shots and turnovers led to lee points and with 4:34 left in the period, Crossroad’s took a time out with their margin now down to just one, 45-44. Lee took the lead on the next possession. The outside shots for Lee were starting to fall but Crossroad was able to right itself and keep Lee from breaking away. At the end of the third, Lee was up by just two, 61-59.
In the final period, the lead would change hands several times. With four minutes left in the contest, Lee was up 71-70. Crossroad scored to take the lead but on the next Lee possession, Crossroad star Kris Parker fouled out. Crossroad stayed even with Lee for a bit but ultimately couldn’t get past Lee, who won by the score of 83-80.
Lee was led by Namon Hobson and Myles Jones, each with 18 points. Deavious Woods added 17 points.
For Crossroad Academy, Parker had a game-high 35 points. Jamari Favors added 16 points while Markell Bradwell tossed in 13 points and Logan Godfrey added 10 points.
Game Six: Tallahassee Florida High vs. Oldsmar Christian
This game featured a pair of D-I guards that bring a lot of excitement to the court. Florida High features 6’3 senior Anthony Robinson, a Missouri signee while Oldsmar has 6’4 Braylon Jackson, who will suit up for Evansville at this time next year.
Oldsmar held a slim 8-6 after the first four minutes. The pace sped up a bit the rest of the period and Florida High took full advantage of the change in tempo. They led by three, 17-14, at the end of the quarter. The “baby” Seminoles continued to grow their lead thru the early parts of the second period. Their lead was seven, 23-16, thru the first four minutes. Oldsmar struggled to get any kind of offensive rhythm but at least defensively they were keep Florida High from pulling away. At the break, Florida High led by nine, 28-19.
The struggles for Oldsmar continued in the third quarter. Whenever they did stitch together consecutive buckets, Florida High seemed to have an answer. Oldsmar was still within nine, 33-24 midway thru the third but at the end of the period, Florida High’s lead had grown to double-digits, 43-32. Oldsmar never really threatened in the fourth period. A few times they got to within two possessions of tying the score but Florida High answered every run. Florida High would go on to win by the score of 60-49.
Robinson led Florida High with 16 points. He got help from Terell Baker with 13 points and Trey Card with 12 points.
For Oldsmar, Jackson led the way with a game-high 19 points while Joel Harrison tossed in 16 points.
Game Seven: Orlando Jones vs. Orlando West Oaks Academy
Jones was impressive when we viewed them the day before Thanksgiving. They are a legit state title contender in Class 5A. West Oaks is not only one of the stronger programs in the SIAA, it has been nationally ranked many times.
Jones rode a wave of energy and emotion in the first four minutes to build a 10-5 lead. At that point, West Oaks seized control, finishing the quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 12-10 lead. West Oaks would continue to hold off Jones in the second quarter. While the Flame could never get the Tigers far in the rearview mirror, they always seemed to have an answer for any run Jones might put together. At the break, West Oaks led by six, 31-25.
Much of the third quarter was like the first two: West Oaks holding off Jones. West Oaks led 37-33 midway thru the period. Jones kept scratching and clawing and with 1:30 left in the quarter, the Tigers of Jones tied the game at 41-41. West Oaks responded with a pair of threes to end the quarter back in front by six, 47-41.
West Oaks started the final period with a 5-0 run that made an already uphill climb that much tougher for Jones. Still, they were only down four, 60-56 with 3:30 left to play. Thankfully, West Oaks kept playing and didn’t go stall-ball. Jones eventually did have to start fouling and West Oaks converted at the free throw line. West Oaks’ nine-point win, 74-65, is not indicative of how close this contest really was.
West Oaks put five players in double figures. Jaylen Smith led the way with 19 points. Prophete Fields tossed in 16, Paul Djobet added 15, and both Greg Spate and Chris Mubiru each scored 10 points.
Jones got a game-high 20 points from Omari Henry. Calvin Liptrot added 14 while Jalen Cole knocked down 12 points.
Game Eight: Orlando Oak Ridge vs. GA Tri-Cities
The Pioneers of Oak Ridge are a serious threat to Miami Columbus’ reign as Class 7A champs this season. Tri-Cities had a couple of championships in their Georgia classification. Both teams like to play fast and up-tempo.
Oak Ridge got ahead quickly and never looked back. What was a 6-4 lead midway thru the first quarter was a 16-9 lead after the first eight minutes. In the second quarter, Oak Ridge had built a ten-point lead, 21-11 within the first minute. Tri-Cities cut that in half to 27-22 by midway thru the period. Oak Ridge didn’t let them creep any closer and at the break led by nine 37-28.
The Pioneers started the third quarter with a 9-2 run and led by sixteen, 46-30, midway thru the period. Tri-Cities stayed with it and shaved the margin down to eleven, 53-42 with one period left to play. In the fourth, Oak Ridge dominated building its lead to twenty points at various times. Ultimately, Tri-Cities didn’t have the talent and time necessary to catch up. Oak Ridge won going away 77-62.
Oak Ridge had multiple players in double-figures. Tyler Johnson led the way with 19 points. Jordan Tillery added 14 points while both Elijah Elliott and Cam Simpson each added 12 points while Jaylen Reece finished with 11 points.
For Tri-Cities, Korey Mincey led all scorers with 26 points.
Game One (Saturday Morning): Riverview Bell Creek Academy vs. Bradenton Victory Rock Prep
Bell Creek is in the south part of Hillsboro County and by all account had some interesting players we should watch. Victory Rock Prep (VRP) is another stalwart in the SIAA.
VRP scored five points early and led 7-2 at the four minute mark of the first quarter. Bell Creek was able to close that gap got to within one, 12-11, at the end of the period as they scored the final five points. The second quarter would find the teams exchanging leads. Midway thru the quarter, the score was tied at 20-20. It looked like Bell Creek would go into the break with a three-point lead, but VRP nailed a three-pointer just before the horn to tie the game at 27-27.
In the third quarter, Bell Creek opened with a 6-0 run and led by five, 5-30 at the four-minute mark. They quickly pushed that lead upwards and led by ten, 44-4, with forty-five seconds left in the quarter. Once again, VRP hit a late three to make the margin seven, 44-37, going into the final period.
VRP outscored Bell Creek 7-2 to draw within two, 46-44, with 4:30 left to play. VRP took a 47-46 lead shortly thereafter, but it didn’t last long. With 1:30 left, Bell Creek led by three, 52-49, and began to run clock. VRP was unable to re-take the lead and Bell Creek won by seven, 59-52.
Jermai Jones led Bell Creek with 16 points. Ben Walker added 12 points and Caleb Sanders contributed 11 points.
For Victory Rock, Jared Kumah scored fifteen points while Ryan Leonardo tossed in 14 points.