OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee senior Malcolm Kelly is this week’s Big Lake Athlete of the Week for his performance in the Brahman varsity basketball team’s regional quarterfinal against the Belen Jesuit Wolverines on Feb. 20.
Kelly had a team leading 17 points in the Okeechobee win over Belen Jesuit; 11 of those points came in the third quarter as the Brahmans built a double-digit lead.
The Wolverines had kept things neck and neck with the Brahmans throughout the first half. And as the final seconds ticked away in the second quarter, Belen Jesuit took a one-point lead over Okeechobee into halftime.
But that lead was short-lived, as Kelly and the Okeechobee offense outscored the Wolverines 20-10 in the third quarter. Kelly had a team leading four steals against Belen Jesuit and was tied for total rebounds.
He was also a clutch performer in getting the ball to his teammates in the second half. He led the team in assists with eight.
Kelly opened the third quarter with a clutch three-pointer that silenced the big Belen Jesuit crowd of fans who’d made the trip to Okeechobee. He closed the quarter with a fade-away jumper near the baseline give Okeechobee the 41-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Brahmans would go on to win 54-38 to secure their first regional playoff win since 1986 and advance to the regional semifinal.
Malcolm has been a leader on and off the court for the Brahmans all year as they complied a 25-2 record this season. But what might be the strength of Okeechobee this year is there isn’t just a single star player for opposing teams to focus on. Malcolm and his brothers Mikal and Markeze have been solid for the Brahmans throughout the year. Fellow seniors De’nitrik Whittaker and Silas Madrigal have also been clutch performers for Okeechobee all season. And junior Alessio Dehart has made his presence known as a center on the court.
Malcolm has scored 274 points for the Brahmans this season and has a team leading 86 steals. Kelly also leads the team in rebounds this season with 146.
If you have someone you’d like to nominate for Big Lake Athlete of the Week, email Lake Okeechobee News sports reporter Richard Marion at firstname.lastname@example.org.