Lady Brahmans comeback to stun South Fork in final seconds

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahmans varsity basketball team came back to stun the South Fork Lady Bulldogs 36-33 on Dec. 13 in the OHS gym.

The victory was a little bit of sweet revenge for the Lady Brahmans, who were beaten by South Fork two times in 2017.

Okeechobee took an early lead in the game, jumping out 10-6 after the end of the first quarter, but South Fork was able to battle back to tie the game at 22-22 by the third quarter.

The two teams battled throughout the third quarter but the game remained tied 25-25 as the fourth quarter began.

After that stalemate in the third quarter, the fourth quarter saw the scoring, and drama, ratchet up in the final minutes. Throughout the last four minutes there were five lead changes in the game and multiple turnovers and clutch shots by both teams.

But Okeechobee proved to be just a little more clutch than South Fork.

Head coach Jovanny Torres gave credit to his team’s defensive play for turning the tide of the game in the fourth quarter.

“We were able to force over 30 turnovers,” said Torres. “That’s what kept us in the game.

That’s been our game all year. No matter what we did on offense, our defense kept us in the game.”

Okeechobee ran a trap defense against South Fork for much of the game. In a trap defense the main goal is to trap the opposing ball handler along the sideline just as soon as they pass the half court line. Often times when a South Fork player was caught by two Okeechobee defenders, they’d panic and make an errant pass which was picked off by the Lady Brahmans.

In fact that exact scenario played out in the final 30 seconds of the game with the Lady Brahmans up 36-33 and the Lady Bulldogs looking to tie. OHS freshman Adryauna Baker picked off a South Fork player to keep the ball away from the Lady Bulldogs and whittle away time on the game clock.

Baker currently leads the district in steals with 29. Ms. Baker was named athlete of the week Nov. 28, 2018.

The Lady Brahmans skew young, but have enough talent to stand toe-to-toe with the more experienced teams in their district.

One veteran presence on the young Okeechobee team is junior Alkeecia Clayton.

Okeechobee High School junior Alkeecia Clayton lines up for a free throw shot in the Lady Brahmans game against South Fork on Dec. 13. Clayton is one of the leaders on the young Lady Brahman team. Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion.

Clayton operates almost like a player-coach, directing her teammates and calling out plays throughout the game. Clayton leads the Lady Brahmans in assists with 14 and is tied for fourth in the district in that category as well.

Freshman Jasmine Shanks has also been a major contributor this season as she leads the team in points scored with 43 and free throws made with 10.

Okeechobee has back-to-back home games scheduled before Christmas break. The Lady Brahmans will face Centennial at 6 p.m. on Dec. 17 and Glades Day at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19.

“We got a couple of tough teams coming in,” explained Torres. “I know Centennial is tough.

But I don’t see us losing to anyone. If we can control that trap and make our layups, we’re going to be a hard team to beat.”

Okeechobee freshman Karey Gopher attempts to get open in the Lady Brahman’s game against Westwood on Dec. 12. Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion.

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

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