OKEECHOBEE — Lady Brahman basketball coach had two goals for the preseason classic held this week. The first, of course, was to win games if possible. The second, perhaps almost as important, was getting a look at all of his players and deciding whether they are varsity players.
Cheyenne Nunez poured in 20 points which included 12 on four, three-point baskets in the second quarter, as Okeechobee defeated Moore Haven 41-27 on Thursday.
Shyterria Ash and Bri Baker both added six points for the Lady Brahmans.
Coach Joe Smith said these games were a gauge to see where the team is at collectively.
“We had a couple of younger girls brought up from the junior varsity to see if they were able to play at a high level of basketball,” he added.
Sydnee Cypress had 13 points and Sunni Bearden added nine points for Moore Haven.
Okeechobee trailed 10-6 after the first quarter but outscored Moore Haven 16-8 in the second quarter to take the lead for good.
Okeechobee continued to play hard on defense as they had 16 steals. Neither team shot the ball well, and neither team had much of an advantage on the boards.
Coach Smith said he was glad Okeechobee didn’t get down when they fell behind, and kept playing hard.
“In both games this week we had to show some resiliency. We fought our way back and that shows a lot about our girls,” he added.
Smith said the girls kept their cool, knew the situation they were in, knew how to execute and took care of business.
Scoring options are few beyond the senior guard Nunez who for the second straight game had 20 points or more. She was so hot in the second quarter she was able to use the glass to score a three-point basket.
“If you come to watch girls basketball in Okeechobee you come to watch Cheyenne Nunez,” Coach Smith said.
“She’s a leader and the general. She does her job and Cheyenne was just Cheyenne.”
Ash could become a key player for the Brahmans, not just on defense which is her specialty, but on the offensive end. She was productive inside with 14 points in the two games.
“We played well. The travel ball helped me on offense. I was already good on defense but I’m getting better on offense,” she added.
Ash said the girls are excited about the fast start and she predicted a strong season for the Lady Brahmans. She said the difference in the victory over Moore Haven was confidence and attitude.
“Once we got the lead they shut it down. You can’t give up. Once they did that, that pumped us up to keep going,” she added.
Okeechobee opens the regular season at home on Monday when they host Forest Hill. Junior Varsity action begins at 5:30 p.m. and varsity tips around 7 p.m.
John Carroll defeated Clewiston in a lopsided game 52-34. The Lady Rams led 26-6 at halftime and held a lead of at least 13 points throughout the second half. Lauren Kenney had 18 points and Madison Miller added 11 points for the Lady Rams. Shakayla Hankins had nine points to lead Clewiston.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News