Around Osceola
Osceola News-Gazette

Follow Us On:

Osceola crushes Central in boys hoops regional; Poinciana eliminated

Posted on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

Tevin Florent goes to the basket during the Kowboys victory against Fort Pierce Central Thursday. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor

The clock probably could have started running in the second quarter rather than the fourth by the way Osceola dominated Fort Pierce Central, 78-44, in the 9A-2 regional boys basketball quarterfinal Thursday at the OHS gym.

After a tepid start when it took the Kowboys five minutes to score their first field goal, Osceola overwhelmed the Cobras (16-11) with their press, fast-break offense and domination on the backboards.

Down 7-1 in the first quarter, OHS (26-2) reeled off 12 straight points to lead 13-7 early in the second quarter, and for Fort Pierce, it rapidly got worse.

With forward Tevin Florent (16 points) taking charge of the offense in the second quarter, OHS expanded its lead to 34-14 at the half as Omar Payne (15 points) had a pair of blocks and a dunk and Florent added another emphatic throw down.

The rout got worse in the third quarter as Brady Fernandes (15) and Isiah Palermo (13) got cooking and point guard Josh Marte (9) steered the ball inside for easy OHS baskets.

Florent, one of several Kowboys who reached the 2015 Class 8A state tournament, said that the team needed a little time to get going on Thursday.

“Coach had us practicing for Fort Pierce all week. We might have been a little nervous at first,” he said.

For Florent, it is just the first step of the playoff journey.

“We got there (the state tournament) but we didn’t win it. I feel that I know what to do, and I know what not to do, to get there,” he said. “I’m really humble. I just want to  win the championship.”

Osceola Coach Nate Alexander said Florent is one of several veterans that know how to get the job done.

“Tevin, sometimes he’s a little off and on during the season, but when the playoffs roll around, he brings it,” he said.

Alexander has thus far pushed all the right buttons this season, and the results are there for anyone who knows basketball to see – these Kowboys are legit championship contenders.

“We finally played a little defense. When we go hard like that, and start putting runs together, we’re pretty hard to beat,” he said. “The sky’s the limit for this group.”

Osceola visits St. Lucie Treasure Coast, a quarterfinal winner over Ridge Community, in the regional semifinals at 7 p.m. Tuesday. That winner will meet the Dr. Phillips-Oak Ridge winner on Feb. 24.

Poinciana’s (19-9) quest to defend its state championship ended with a 56-50 loss at Titusville (26-2) Thursday in the 6A-4 quarters.