The battle of the brothers went to Osceola’s duo of Sean and Chris Combs, as the two combined for 40 points to lead the Kowboys to a 67-51 regional quarterfinal win over Ft. Pierce Central on Thursday night.  The win propelled Osceola (19-5) into a Tuesday night Regional Semifinal – where they will host Wellington.  The contest tips at 7 p.m.

It was a spectacular night for the brothers, as each dominated a quarter of play.  Sean hit two three-pointers—his first two shots of the game– and scored 12 points in the quarter to stake the Kowboys to a 22-12 lead after one period.   Chris led a fourth-quarter rally with 11 points, including a thunderous dunk at the buzzer as Osceola broke open a 39-39 tie with a 28-point explosion in the fourth quarter.

The performance of the brothers was in stark contrast to Central’s twin freshman guards — Christian and Christopher Maxon — who were held to eight points on the night, nearly 16 points less than their combined season average of 23.3 points per game.

After their first-quarter explosion that saw Osceola force 10 turnovers and jump out to an 11-2 lead, Ft. Pierce whittled their way back into the game.  Outscoring the Kowboys 12-9 in the second, they would cut the gap to nine at the half, 39-30.

Behind two 3s from Chris Maxon and a couple of tough buckets by Sami Bahman, the Cobras would soon erase that deficit and when Joshua Williams hit a short jumper at the 1:32 mark,  Ft. Pierce took their first lead of the night at 36-35.  Sean Combs would give them the lead back with a layup and two Chris Rios free throws would make it a three-point game, while a Travis King free throw reduced the lead to two at the end of three quarters, 39-37.

“We fell too much in love with taking three-pointers and they stopped falling for us.  But give Ft. Pierce some credit too. They are a really talented basketball team and did a great job of fighting back,” Mason said. 

Cobra forward Aaron McLeod hit a shot in the opening seconds of the fourth to tie the game at 39-39.  But center Cory Vega would give the lead back to Osceola for good on the next possession when he hit a three-pointer from the top of the key.  Vega’s basket would spur a 17-0 Osceola run to give the Kowboys a 56-39 lead.  “At the end of the third quarter, I simply told our guys we had to go back to how we were playing at the beginning of the game.  Drive the ball to the basket and make a couple of layups,” Mason said.  “After Cory hit that big shot, it really sparked us as we started attacking the rim and picking up our defense.”

It was a combination of things that led to the victory over a taller Ft. Pierce squad.  The Kowboys used their speed and quick hands to force 23 turnovers in the game.  But more than anything, Mason credited his team’s ball movement for the win.  “We have had four or five different guys that have led this team in scoring on a game-to-game basis.  The one thing I love about this team is they truly do not care who scores the most or who gets the credit. When things got tight, they did a great job of moving the ball and finding the open man.”

Sean Combs led all scorers with 23, brother Chris added 17, Vega had 10 and seven rebounds and Rios added 7.  Ft. Pierce was led by Travis King with 11 and Bahman with 10.

In other action, Gateway saw its season end with a 63-50 loss to top-seeded Jones in a Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal game.  The Panthers led by 10 points early before Jones rallied.  Gateway finished the season with a solid 18-9 record.