OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee held Clewiston scoreless in the first quarter and allowed just four points in the first half as they defeated the Tigers, 56-20 in boys’ basketball Tuesday.
Okeechobee forced turnovers, ran the fast break and played smothering defense for most of the first quarter. Antawyn Fludd caused a lot of havoc with eight steals, most of them in the first half.
Coach Demetri Riles said his team’s success began with defense. “We preach defense. The defense creates fast break opportunities. Most of our guys have good instincts for the ball and I like our chances when we play defense.”
Clewiston couldn’t get good shots for most of the night. Many times they could not get into their half-court offense because of Brahman steals and pressure. Lashawn Mosley had three steals, Shaquoy Ferrol had three steals, and the team had close to 20 overall.
Guard Zachary Kielbasa, who scored 14 Monday against Glades Day, said the team saw Clewiston play last week and knew their guards like to dribble the ball. “We put a lot of pressure up top and got the ball out of their hands. This was definitely a nice team win tonight.”
Demetrius Clark had 19 points and five rebounds, Ferrol had 10 points and 13 rebounds, and Fludd added nine points and seven assists for Okeechobee. Cosine Mendoza led Clewiston with six points and three rebounds.
Coach Riles said his team must make fewer mistakes and play clean basketball if they want to compete with better teams.
“We just have to execute. I get on to them when we play sloppy. You must execute for the entire game against good teams. I think as the season goes on we will make less mistakes,” he noted.
The bench did an outstanding job in the game as they provided solid defense, didn’t turn the ball over as much and gave the starters a breather. Kysell Richardson had six points and three assists. He said he tries to play within the offense and find his teammates for easy shots.
“It means a lot to beat Clewiston because we’ve played them for a long time. That was a nice bonus tonight,” he added.
Juanyae Ford also was productive off the bench with four points, five rebounds and two steals. Lashawn Mosley had five points, three rebounds and three steals. Andre Taylor had two points, four rebounds and three steals for Clewiston.
Okeechobee led 14-0 after the first quarter and 32-4 at halftime. The Brahmans held a 46-11 lead after the third quarter. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Coach Riles said the team wasn’t happy with a nine point win over Lake Placid and came out with energy, “Lake Placid was too close. We figured out as long as we play hard it will turn in our favor because we keep coming at you.”
Okeechobee will host Big Lake rival Pahokee on Friday with three games that begin at 4:30. The freshmen team will be followed by the junior varsity game around 6 pm and the varsity game at approximately 7:30 pm.
The Brahman junior varsity teams pulled away in the second half for an impressive 55-31 win over Clewiston. Robert Futch, Abdiel Zamora, Lucas Osceola, and Deshon Wellington were among the standouts for OHS.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News