Varsity boys basketball completes a comeback for the ages


Dominique Moise

Alex Harper (center) lifts up to take a shot late in the game for the Lions.

When the Oviedo Lions took on Seminole High last Friday night, it was sure to be a competitive game. Both teams came into the night on a winning streak and with the playoffs a few weeks away, wins were more important than ever. Junior guard Ryan Blount, who’s scoring about 22 points a game this season, was tearing up defenses left and right for OHS. Meanwhile, Gabriel Sellers, Seminole High’s captain, was looking to have another big game. 

But what looked to be a typical senior night varsity game turned out to be one of the craziest games of all time.

In the first half, both squads matched each other step-for-step. The Seminoles used a full-court press for the entire game to try and steal the ball early while frustrating the Lions. It worked at first, resulting in multiple steals, easy layups, and forced turnovers. But once the Lions began passing more accurately, the game plan was neutralized by the likes of junior guards Hunter Haverkamp and Alex Harper. By halftime the score was 35-34, Oviedo.

In the third quarter, the game was tighter than ever. The Lions made some big plays to stay in it with seniors Gio Galloway and Nathan Darmafall leading the way. Darmafall would go on to finish the game with 20 points and 6 three pointers while Galloway racked up 13 points and several rebounds. After many lead changes and some lucky baskets for the Seminoles, the Lions ended up down 58-53.

For most of the 4th quarter, things were going Seminole High’s way. Sellers was creating all kinds of buckets for his squad while the Lions struggled to keep up offensively. Any time they would get within reach, the Seminoles would come right back with an answer.

Down seven points with 25.8 seconds, it seemed like all hope was lost. But rather than shrivel up and quit, the Lions said, ‘Not today.’ With a wild crowd behind them, Harper, Darmafall, Haverkamp, and Blount rallied the team by hitting free throws, getting steals, and using as little time as possible to narrow the deficit. 

It all came down to Blount heading to the line after Darmafall got a huge steal with a few seconds left. He took his time and knocked down both free throws to take it into overtime with a 73-73 score.

“It was executed to perfection,” said Darmafall about the miraculous comeback. “It’s not over ‘til the clock hits zero.” 

In overtime, the Lions quickly found themselves down four. But just like at the end of the 4th quarter, they roared back with junior Trenten Wollmer hitting a big-time corner three pointer to help make it happen. 

In the final seconds, the Seminoles got the ball to Sellers who splashed a deep three pointer to tie the game at 86. After a quick timeout to strategize, the Lions had 4.5 seconds left to make something happen. 

Haverkamp quickly inbounded the ball to Latour who made a jump pass to Blount. Surrounded by a triple-team, Ryan raced down the court and delivered a brilliant pass to a wide open Hunter who put in an easy layup as the buzzer sounded.

“It was a great feeling hitting the game winner,” said Haverkamp. “Just beating them felt good.”

The crowd went nuts as screams of joy resounded through the RWL. The players celebrated, the refs went wide-eyed in shock, and head coach Elston Watson looked on in awe as the final score flashed on the scoreboard: Lions 88, Seminoles 86.

“It was good to make a big statement and contribute to the win,” said Wollmer.