OKEECHOBEE– The Okeechobee High School varsity boys basketball team is back in the mix for another district championship.
The Brahmans will host the district semifinal at OHS on Feb. 10. They’ll be facing the winner of the quarterfinal game between Suncoast and Port St. Lucie.
Okeechobee’s 9-2 record earned them the number one seed this year. After starting the season 3-2, the Brahmans went on a six game winning streak.
The most recent win in that streak came when on Feb. 5 when the Brahmans hosted the Treasure Coast Titans. The Titans were coming into the game with a 6-10 record and had the fifth seed in their district.
Okeechobee jumped out early against the Titans, taking a 32-17 lead into halftime.
The Brahman defense kept Treasure Coast from building any momentum to mount a comeback in the second half. Okeechobee had 18 steals throughout the game compared to six for the Titans, which helped preserve their lead and helped them coast to a 84-60 victory.
Senior Kehjayah Rogers led the team in scoring with 25 points against the Titans, followed by senior Jahsheem Dawson with 13, and sophomore Lee Edouard and junior Jayquavious Thomas who both had 10.
Now the Brahmans wait to see who they’ll face in the district quarterfinal. They’ve played one of the teams earlier in the season, Port St. Lucie, and won 72-50.
Rogers dominated the game offensively for the Brahmans, scoring a team leading 26 points against PSL. He also led the team in steals with five followed by Thomas and junior Daniel Phillips who each had four.
Okeechobee played the Suncoast Chargers in last year’s district championship. The Brahmans were looking to repeat as district champs last year after winning it for the first time in 28 years.
Suncoast was confident coming into the championship game after playing a tough schedule throughout the 2019-20 season. The Chargers also had the second leading scorer in the district, senior and team captain Samuel Rolle, on their squad.
The fast-break Chargers offense tested Okeechobee early, but the Brahmans withstood that early wave and pulled out to a lead in the first half. Okeechobee had a 10-point lead near the end of the second quarter before Rolle hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to shrink the Brahman lead to 34-27.
Okeechobee maintained its lead in the third quarter but, late in the fourth quarter, Suncoast made one final push to take the lead. With only 20 seconds left in the game, the Chargers pulled within two points, trailing the Brahmans 62-60. Suncoast had the ball and a chance to either tie the game or take the lead. But Okeechobee senior Malcolm Kelly stole the ball with 12 seconds left and called a timeout.
Out of the timeout Suncoast fouled Malcolm, who hit both free throws to make the game a two-score possession at 64-60. That was all it took and the Brahmans secured their second district championship in as many years.
This year Suncoast is 7-3 and looks to be another tough matchup for the Brahmans if they meet again in the playoffs.
Okeechobee hosts the district quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 10.