JENSEN BEACH – The Okeechobee Lady Brahman varsity basketball team came close to pulling off an upset against the Jensen Beach Lady Falcons in the regional quarterfinal on Feb. 13.
The Lady Brahmans were able to overcome multiple miscues that allowed Jensen Beach take a nearly 10-point lead in the first half and come within two points of forcing overtime in the fourth quarter.
Okeechobee fell to Jensen 51-49, allowing the Lady Falcons to advance to the regional semifinal.
Despite committing a few too many turnovers in the game, Okeechobee was able to stay neck and neck with Jensen early. The first quarter ended with both teams tied at 12-12. But in the second quarter the Lady Falcons were able to put some distance between themselves and the Lady Brahmans.
Jensen outscored Okeechobee 17-9 in the second quarter and took a 29-21 lead into halftime.
Jensen sophomore Danica Osdon caused problems for the Lady Brahmans throughout the game. Both Osdon and fellow Lady Falcon senior Daisy Galarza put up 12 points each on the Okeechobee defense in the regional quarterfinal.
In the second half Okeechobee senior Alkeecia Clayton put together a few impressive runs on offense to close the gap between the two teams. With five minutes remaining in the game Clayton hit her fourth three pointer of the night to put Okeechobee up 40-37.
The last five minutes of the game saw the lead swing back and forth between both teams.
But some clutch shooting by Jensen in the final minutes of the game, especially at the free throw line, proved to be the difference maker in the game.
The regional quarterfinal played out in a remarkably similar fashion to how the district championship went between these two teams back on Feb. 7.
In that game, Jensen Beach again jumped up early, thanks in part to a bevy of turnovers in the first half by Okeechobee. And, once again the Lady Brahmans overcame those turnovers and battled back to take the lead.
The Lady Brahmans maintained their lead into the third quarter, but once again Jensen Beach sealed the win with some impressive three-point shooting the fourth quarter.
What has to be frustrating for the Lady Brahmans is the fact that if they didn’t have to dig themselves out of the those early deficits they fell into because of turnovers, there’s a good chance they win the district championship and regional quarterfinal. It wasn’t a dominating win for the Lady Falcons, the Lady Brahmans were close to winning both of those games. But close won’t cut it, especially in the playoffs.
Despite the loss, Okeechobee coach Jovanny Torres has to be proud of the way the team turned things around from last year.
Last season the Lady Brahmans finished with just a 7-16 record and were bounced out of the district semifinals. This season they finished with a 20-7 record, had a real shot at the district championship and advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in quite awhile.
The team is losing two seniors after this year, Alkeecia Clayton and Julia Smith. While those are big losses for the program, there is a strong core of sophomores, juniors and freshmen who will be back next year ready to make another run in the playoffs.