by Nate Marrero | Correspondent
OCOEE When the dust finally settled on a crazy second half, the Ocoee Knights (7-5) boys basketball team had prevailed over the Mainland Buccaneers 75-65 in the semifinals of its Great 8 Tournament.
“I’m always happy when we win,” said Ocoee Head Coach John “Sarge” Siers. “When we play hard and we play together, we’re pretty good. When we go up by 15 points, then we go back to selfish habits — but the good news is were able to fix that. (We) play hard and together to get back to a 10 point lead. I’m pleased that they were able to fix mistakes they made in the past. It shows signs that we’re growing. ”
After being up by as many as 14 points in the first quarter, the Knights saw their lead slowly dissipate in the second quarter and Ocoee went into halftime up 35-28.
The Buccaneers would cut deeper into Ocoee’s lead in the third quarter, tying the game multiple times, but the Knights never fell behind, entering the fourth quarter with a two-point advantage.
In the fourth quarter the Knights managed to reassert control by way of a 17-3 run to go ahead 66-50 with 3:09 left in the game. Ocoee would go on to win 75-65 and advance to the Great 8 finals.
Wade Duffus and Derrick Rucker both led the team with 15 points. Angelo Fort added on 14 points.
Ocoee plays Archbishop Carroll today at 4 p.m. in the championship game of the tournament.
Nate Marrero is a senior at Ocoee High School and an aspiring sports journalist.