Boys hoops: Ocoee edges Edgewater 71-68 in thrilling home opener
| 10:02 p.m. November 19, 2014
OCOEE — It was early in the third quarter and the Edgewater Eagles had pushed their lead over the Ocoee Knights to double-digits, leading 46-35.
Things were starting to get away from the Knights, who had led big early before the Eagles fought back to take a halftime lead, but then senior Grant Riller took over.
Riller, who signed with College of Charleston last week, scored 14 points in the third quarter alone — part of a game-high effort of 36 points — to help lead Ocoee (1-0) to a thrilling 71-68 victory in its season opener on Wednesday night.
“That’s what big time players do — Grant has developed himself into that kind of a big time guy,” Knights coach Rob Gordon said. “When there’s plays to be made, that’s what big time-level players do.”
Riller’s tremendous night scoring the basketball was a necessary one, as the senior guard found himself in a duel with Edgewater sophomore Anfernee Simons, who finished with 31 points — 23 of which came in the second quarter.
Help for Riller came in the form of 16 points from Vaughn McCall, who last week signed with Flagler College, and 12 points from junior Damerit Brown. It was the Knights’ defense, though, which was able to cool off Simons and some of the Eagles’ other hot hands to help secure the win.
“I really felt like it was more of our defensive effort,” Gordon said. “I felt like our younger guys, Eisley Piorter and Damerit Brown, I thought those guys came in and gave us great energy.”
Ocoee will return to action on Thursday, when it travels to take on Colonial in the second leg of a back-to-back. Tipoff for the varsity contest is set for 7:30 p.m.