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Seminoles help fuel fast start for Moore Haven Middle School basketball

Moore Haven Middle School’s Willo James (35) battles for a rebound in the Lady Terriers’ victory against Clewiston Middle on Dec. 9, 2020, in Clewiston. (Kevin Johnson photo)

CLEWISTON – It didn’t take long for Seminoles to make an impact on the Moore Haven Middle School basketball teams.

Seminoles helped pave the way to victory as both the boys and girls teams started the season 2-0 with wins against LaBelle and Clewiston.

On the boys side, Randall Billie is off to a fast start on a squad that also includes Kingston Billie, Keenan Jones and Noah Osceola. Randall Billie, an eighth-grader, poured in a team-high 12 points in the opener against LaBelle on Dec. 7.

Moore Haven Middle School’s Randall Billie dribbles past a Clewiston defender on Dec. 9, 2020. (Kevin Johnson photo)

Two days later Billie again proved to be tough for opponents to contain with his speed, scoring touch and strong rebounding. He scored a team-high 10 points, including all six of the team’s points in the first half, which ended with Clewiston ahead 14-6.

Billie sparked a second half surge. He scored a couple baskets after snagging offensive rebounds to knot the game at 14-14.

Moore Haven seized the lead for good when Billie blocked a shot on defense and then assisted on a 3-pointer from sixth-grader Kingston Billie, whose hot hand in the fourth quarter stamped an exclamation point on the win. All seven of his points came in the final quarter as Moore Haven emerged with a 30-22 win.

Moore Haven Middle School’s Kingston Billie (15) and Keenan Jones provide solid defense against Clewiston on Dec. 9, 2020, at Clewiston Middle School. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Moore Haven Middle School’s Kingston Billie makes a 3-pointer against Clewiston Middle School on Dec. 9, 2020, in Clewiston. (Kevin Johnson photo)

In the LaBelle game, Kingston Billie, a forward, also had an outstanding game at both ends of the court with a team-high six rebounds and a 3-pointer. Keenan Jones, an eight-grade forward, was also a force on offense and defense as he grabbed five boards and scored five points.

Moore Haven Middle School’s Randall Billie scores on a layup against Clewiston Middle School on Dec. 9, 2020, in Clewiston. (Kevin Johnson photo)
Moore Haven Middle School’s Preslynn Baker lines up a 3-point shot in the Lady Terriers’ victory against Clewiston Middle School on Dec. 9, 2020, in Clewiston. (Kevin Johnson photo)

The Moore Haven girls’ perfect start was due in big part from eighth-graders Preslynn Baker and Willo James. Baker, a guard, began the season with a huge game against LaBelle. She scored a team-high 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out nine assists and made four steals. Meanwhile, James, a center, also produced a memorable opener as she notched a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

Both players also shined in a 30-22 win against Clewiston. Baker led the team with 10 points while James contributed eight points and five rebounds.

Baker and James are among six Seminoles on the squad, which includes Aaliyah Billie, Tahnia Billie, Jayleigh Braswell and Sally Osceola.

Moore Haven’s season for both the boys and girls will be brief; only six games are on the schedule. Some players attend Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School, which is not offering sports at this time as classes are conducted virtually.

Willo James’ name was misspelled in the original version of this story.

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