Brahmans win D5 Alive basketball tournament

VERO BEACH — The Okeechobee High School Brahman varsity basketball team took home the championship at the fourth annual D5 Alive Foundation Tournament in Vero Beach Dec. 26-28.

The Brahmans swept through three teams in route to the championship, including Sports Leadership & Management Basketball (SLMB), St. Joseph Academy and Faith Christian.

Okeechobee opened the tournament with a dominating win over SLMB on Dec. 26, winning 74-29. Junior Rowan Hanley Jr. led the Brahmans in scoring with 14 points followed by seniors Markeze Kelly and De’nitrik Whittaker who both had 10. The Brahman defense suffocated SLMB’s offense, especially in the second half.

Following the win over SLMB Okeechobee moved on to face the St. Joseph Academy Flashes out of St. Augustine. The Brahmans smashed the Flashes 41-27, thanks to a fast start on offense in the first quarter and some tenacious defensive play to close out the game.

Seniors Mikal Kelly and Silas Madrigal led Okeechobee on offense against the Flashes, with them scoring 17 and 11 points, respectively. Senior Malcolm Kelly led the Brahmans with six rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

That victory advanced the Brahmans to the championship round where the Faith Christian Lions out of Orlando awaited them.

Faith Christian took an early 17-15 lead over Okeechobee in the first quarter. It was the first time the Brahmans had trailed a team at the end of a quarter throughout the entire D5 Alive tournament, and it was also the last time. Okeechobee came roaring the back in the second quarter and didn’t take their foot off the gas for the rest of the game.

The Brahmans would go on to win the D5 Alive championship over Faith Christian 62-30.

Junior Alessio Dehart had an impressive showing in the championship game for Okeechobee, leading the team in scoring with 15 points and total rebounds with 11. Malcolm Kelly was a handful for the Lions on defense, with six takeaways and seven defensive rebounds. He also led the Brahmans in assists with nine.

The Brahmans are now in the midst of a nine-game win streak and look almost unstoppable as they drive forward toward the playoffs.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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