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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 5 months ago

Hardwood Heroics: West Orange County basketball teams win district championships

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Olympia, Windermere Prep and CFCA all claimed district championships in an exciting week of championship play.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Five West Orange County teams competed for district championships Feb. 11, with four of those teams facing off against one another. Two of the three games came down to the wire, with one needing overtime to settle. 

When the dust was cleared, one team continued a streak of excellence while another pulled off a tremendous upset. 

OLYMPIA UPSETS DP

The game between Olympia and Dr. Phillips seemed like it did not want to end. The contest between the Southwest Orange rivals went into double overtime, with both teams tied at 60 after the first overtime. As usually is the case when DP and Olympia meet on the court, neither team wanted to lose to the other. 

The Panthers, playing without senior center Ernest Udeh Jr., gave it their best effort to clinch another district championship toward the end of the game, but the Titans refused to relent. 

As the second overtime began, Olympia took advantage of Udeh’s absence and got just enough of an edge that it would not relinquish until the final buzzer. When it was all said and done, the Titans had upset the 25th-ranked team in the country to win the first district championship in school history. 

The Titans’ reward for that upset is hosting the first-round game against Plant City in the Class 7A state tournament Feb. 17. Dr. Phillips will travel to Newsome for its first-round game.

CFCA WINS AGAIN

The Central Florida Christian Eagles had to dig deep at the end to put away Victory Christian, and they did just that to ensure a seventh-consecutive district championship, 68-63. 

“That was a hard one,” CFCA head coach Andrew Gustafson said. “We weren’t our best selves, but we were poised enough to make some plays at the end.” 

Jamar Houston led the way for CFCA, finishing with 21 points, including a big slam in the fourth quarter that got the fans on their feet. The rest of the team helped out just enough to keep themselves in business as Victory Christian clawed its way back into the game several times down the stretch. 

With the CFCA girls team winning its first district title since 2003, this was the first time both teams have swept the district championships. Gustafson said it was something he hoped would happen. 

“We always say we want to be married in this situation, and it’s a great feeling when you have two great programs like that,” Gustafson said. 

With home-court advantage in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs against International Community High School Feb. 17, the team is ready to begin its journey toward another state championship. 

“It’s always great to play (at home); it’s a great feeling,” Gustafson said. “The boys have put in a lot of work this offseason, but we still have a long way to go. We want to be playing in March.” 

LAKERS SECURE CHAMPIONSHIP

Windermere Prep rode a dominant start all the way to its fifth district championship in school history. 

The Lakers started fast and never looked back, defeating TFA by a final score of 73-37 to win the Class 3A District 4 championship. 

Windermere Prep will host P.K. Yonge in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Feb. 17. 

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Chris Martucci is the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in...

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