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Defending district champions pick up where they left off

Seminoles meet as OHS cruises past Moore Haven

OKEECHOBEE — At one point early in the Moore Haven versus Okeechobee high school boys basketball game, the score was close.

Okeechobee led 12-10 and all indications pointed to a tight battle between the rivals.

But in a flash, a close game turned into a blowout.

Okeechobee, which won a district championship last year and shows no signs of slowing down, went on a blistering 27-2 run on its way to a 67-30 win on Dec. 13 in Okeechobee.

Silas Madrigal, the only Seminole on this year’s Okeechobee squad, played a big role in the scoring surge.

His layup gave the Brahmans a 19-10 lead and forced Moore Haven to call timeout, but the offensive onslaught continued.

Two Seminoles battle in the paint as Moore Haven’s Ramone Baker and Okeechobee’s Silas Madrigal eye a rebound during a high school boys basketball game Dec. 13 at Okeechobee High School. OHS won 67-30. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

In the waning minutes of the first half, Madrigal assisted on a 3-pointer and made a pair of layups.

With his team comfortably ahead, Madrigal played sparingly in the second half, but he made the most of his few minutes as he scored on a pair of layups in the third quarter and finished the night with 11 points.

Okeechobee loves to run, and the Brahmans sprinted to a 9-1 record at the holiday break.

“We’re a bunch of gunners. We’re a fast team,” Madrigal said.

Okeechobee lost a big chunk from the core of last year’s squad, but this year depth and versatility have helped overcome any holes, and, of course, speed helps, too.

Okeechobee’s Silas Madrigal takes a shot over Moore Haven’s Jaytron Baker as the Brahmans and Terriers met Dec. 13 at Okeechobee High School. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

“Everybody can play. We’ve got two different lineups. We can go big; we can go small and quick,” said Okeechobee coach Demetre Riles. “Last year was last year. This is almost a whole different team. We’ve got a different style of play. That’s what happens from year to year, you’ve got to adjust to what you have.”

Madrigal, a senior guard, has stepped up his game as his role and playing time have increased from a year ago. He drained 25 points in a win against Clewiston on Dec. 17.

“Silas has been doing great,” Riles said. “He starts. He adds to the quickness we have. With our starting lineup, it’s hard to cover the court because our guys are flying everywhere. He does his job. He goes out there and plays hard. He can knock down a shot, he can pass, he can shoot. He plays good team basketball.”

Moore Haven’s Jaytron Baker makes a strong move toward the basket against Okeechobee. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

While Okeechobee entered the break on a high note, Moore Haven reached the holidays searching for consistency.

The Terriers were impressive on opening night, a 67-48 win against Clewiston, but then dropped four in a row before battling back to get close to .500 at the break.

Moore Haven struggled to get decent shots and second chances against Okeechobee. The Tribe’s Ramone Baker and Jaytron Baker brought plenty of energy coming off the bench.

Dononvan Harris, Moore Haven’s leading scorer this season, tries to get past Okeechobee defenders, including Silas Madrigal. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

They each scored two points on a night when nobody from Moore Haven did much offensively.

Seminole Nation of Oklahoma’s Donovan Harris, Moore Haven’s second leading scorer this season, ran into foul trouble early and sat for long stretches. He finished with five points.

Ramone Baker scored a season-high 15 points in a two-point loss to Hardee in early December.

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