Pate’s three advances basketball over top-seed Oviedo

    photo by Juliana Joyner
    Senior Tyler Pate grabs a rebound in a game against Winter Springs. Pate hit the game-winning three in Wednesday’s win over Oviedo.

A buzzer-beating, 3-point corner shot from senior guard Tyler Pate led to a 38-35 win over top-seed Oviedo, and the team will now advance to the Friday finals against Timber Creek.

Before Friday’s district semifinal game, the boys basketball team had lost twice to Oviedo during the regular season, once by 11 and once by 23. Plus, they had not beaten the Lions in two years. Seeded fourth against the top seed, nobody expected a Hagerty win.

“The win was even sweeter against Oviedo and having a game plan meant we knew we could win,” senior Paolo Raymundo said. “All that was needed was to execute the plan.”

Sophomore guard Jah Nze lead the team with 12 points. Nze is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 23 points and seven rebounds per game during the regular season.

“As a group we all brought something that stirred momentum for us,” Nze said. “Working as a team really builds that.”

Starting the regular season off the team focused on offensive drills and maneuvers, but concentrated more on defense the weeks before the tournament. Studying films of Oviedo and watching their players allowed for the team to learn Oviedo’s offensive plays and habits, which held Oviedo to only three points in the fourth quarter.

“It was a big achievement from the boys’ to keep the game to a low score after losing by twenty points last time we played them,” head coach Josh Kohn said.

Kohn saw a difference in the team’s offense as the players were more patient when it came to taking shots and caring out plays. Still, the defense performed beyond expectations to get the victory, as Oviedo scored 72 and 50 points in the first two matchups this season.

Advancing to the finals two years in a row, players are excited to get a second chance putting in hours on and off the court to have another chance at a district title.

“I’m just trying to use my knowledge to get the team mentally prepared for the finals,” Kohn said.

Going into the district finals for the seventh time in school history the team hopes to repeat the upset trend. Timber Creek beat Hagerty 71-68 in the second game of the season.

“We kept the practice same as usual – the team watched film of Timber Creek to study the opposing teams’ players tendencies,” Kohn said.

Kohn’s teams have a long history of postseason success, but any specific plans to beat second-seeded Timber Creek will not be revealed until Friday at 7 p.m.

“We have another game plan made for Timber Creek; I can’t tell you yet, but we have good chance to win,” Raymundo said.