Osceola slips past Oak Ridge

Alex Verdelus, Sports Editor

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Oak Ridge played a memorable game against the Osceola on Feb. 24 Osceola but came up short in a crushing 63-60 defeat. Senior Tevin Florent shifted the momentum by grabbing a missed free throw late in the game.

With 8.4 seconds left, Florent’s rebound extended the Kowboy’s lead to three and propelled them to class 9A, region 2 championships. Osceola (28-2) won 18 consecutive games coming into the contest and will play Wellington  (27-3) in a state semifinal on March. 3 in Lakeland.

The Pioneers (24-5) were never able to capture the lead. They were down by as large as 12 but were able to overcome the deficit in the third quarter by going on a 13-1 run.

When asked what went wrong during the game, Niven Glover said: “communication, not getting back on defense, and not playing our game.”

Both teams were tied at 60-60 before a pioneers turnover led to Osceola senior Bradley Fernandes making two free throws and icing the game with a three-point lead.

“There were a lot of things that were distracting us,” recounted Senior Jerell Williams. “By the fourth quarter, things just weren’t able to go our way and we couldn’t focus on what coach has been telling us all year.”

Michael Devoe led all scorers with 21 points and was a crucial factor in Oak Ridge climbing back to tie the game 58-58.

This was the last game for seniors Jefrey De Jesus, Ornado Bent, and Jerrel Williams as pioneers. Oak Ridge will now look forward to the 2017-2018 season.