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Strong start for three Seminoles on Hollywood Hills junior varsity

Hollywood Hills’ Christian Shaffer (13) and Draycen Osceola (5) double team a Coconut Creek player during a junior varsity game Dec. 5, 2022. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

HOLLYWOOD — The Seminole Tribe’s David Nelson, Draycen Osceola and Christian Shaffer are teammates on the Hollywood Hills High School junior varsity basketball team. They’ve made a big impact in a short period of time.

It took less than a handful of games for Hollywood Hills coach Carmen Delacruz to realize the positive affect the trio can have on the court.

“They have good chemistry together. They have very good basketball IQ. They can go far because they know how to play,” Delacruz said after her team evened its record at 2-2 with a 51-44 win against Coconut Creek on Dec. 5 in Hollywood.

Nelson, described by Delacruz as the team’s big man and main rebounder who played well in the team’s first three games, did not play against Coconut Creek due to an injury, but the other two Seminoles made their presence felt both offensively and defensively.

Hollywood Hills guard Draycen Osceola controls the ball in a JV game against Coconut Creek on Dec. 5, 2022. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

Osceola, a guard, scored eight points and Shaffer, a forward, had seven points. Perhaps more impressive than their scoring touch was their ability to force turnovers, which they did often at crucial times. Their success with the Unconquered youth team coached by Gary McInturff which won national Native American tournaments in Arizona and Oklahoma this summer is paying off on the high school level.

“They do play well on trapping. They trap well together,” Delacruz said.

Relentless pressure by Osceola and Shaffer forced five consecutive backcourt turnovers in the third quarter and turned a two-point deficit into a five-point lead for Hollywood Hills, which never trailed again.
They continued to shine in the fourth quarter. Osceola drained a 3-pointer with 5:30 left to give Hollywood Hills a 44-38 lead. Both Osceola and Shaffer made steals in the final minute to preserve the victory.

In the first half, Shaffer had to be helped from the court after he suffered an injury while vying for a loose ball. After sitting on the bench for a while, Shaffer returned and made a huge impact just within the first 60 seconds by grabbing a defensive rebound, forcing a turnover on an inbounds and making two layups.
Osceola and Shaffer are freshmen; Nelson is a sophomore. Their ascension to varsity isn’t a matter of if, but rather when.

“They’re really good players,” Delacruz said.

Hollywood Hills’ Christian Shaffer makes a layup against Coconut Creek in a JV game Dec. 5, 2022, in Hollywood. (Photo Kevin Johnson)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at