By: J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola
Frans Richardson scored a game-high 18 points and a swarming Harmony defense limited St. Cloud to just six first half points as the Longhorns rolled to a 50-21 rivalry win over the Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
The win was Harmony’s third straight win over St. Cloud and pushed the Longhorns to 6-1 on the season. St. Cloud fell to a 5-3.
Any chance of a St. Cloud win evaporated early in this one as Harmony came out in a full court press and forced 14 first half turnovers. The Bulldogs hit just 2 of 20 first half field goal attempts and trailed 15-5 after one quarter and 30-6 at the half.
“Our depth was the key to the win tonight,” Harmony coach Duke Leonardo said. “When you play two units it keeps everyone fresh and it allowed us to put a lot of pressure on their offense all night. Our goal is to always hold an opponent under 40 and when we can do that like we did tonight, I always feel pretty good about the outcome.”
About the only thing that kept the game from getting totally out of hand in the first half was the Longhorns poor performance at the free throw line – where Harmony went four for 14 from the charity stripe in the first half. “That’s really not indicative of our team, we’re usually pretty good at the line,” Leonardo said. “Not sure whether we were just tight because it was a rivalry game or whether it was just one of those nights, but it’s was certainly not typical.”
Harmony, which finished the game 6 for 17 from the free throw line (35%) came into the game shooting almost 68% from the line.
Both teams were sloppy in the third quarter.
Harmony turned the ball over 10 times, including six in the first four minutes of the period, but St. Cloud was only able three for 14 in the period and turned the ball over six times. The end result was the Bulldogs were only able to close the gap by one point and trailed 36-13 after three.
Richardson would come alive in the final stanza, scoring 7 of his 18 points and Caden Scarborough brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk as the Longhorns finished the game on a 10-4 run for the 29-point win.
St. Cloud shot just 21 percent from the field in game going 9 of 42 from the field. They turned the ball over 24 times and had five shots blocked. Danard Hollingsworth had 13 points for St. Cloud but Leonardo said keeping the St. Cloud center in check was a key to the game.
“Without question, he’s their top player so we tried to bracket him for the entire game,” Leonardo added. “We made him work for those 13 points and by doing so, we forced St. Cloud to try to beat us from the outside.”
In addition to Richardson’s big game, Harmony exhibited the same balanced scoring they have shown all season. Nine different players put points in the book, including six each from Rafael Balines and Jeremy Penner and four each from Miguel Tirado, Scarborough and Brant Gaston.
As a team, Harmony shot 42.8 % (21 of 49) from the field.
The Longhorns will host Gateway (Ft. Myers) on Friday night before breaking for Christmas.
Osceola County Basketball Scores This Week
- Master’s Academy 74, Celebration 44
- Harmony 42, Gateway 36
- Colonial 69, Tohopekaliga 38
- Poinciana 53, East Ridge 47
- Celebration 64, Ridgewood Global 23
- Harmony 50, St. Cloud 21
- Lake Mary 43, Tohopekaliga 39
- Poinciana at Windermere Prep
- Gateway (Ft. Myers) at Harmony
- Liberty at Osceola
- Celebration at Haines City
- Tohopekaliga at Oviedo
- Poinciana vs. Family Christian