Chris Combs and Ryan Rivera combined for 37 points as the Osceola Kowboys (9-3) got back on the winning track on Tuesday night with a 58-39 home win over Harmony in Boys Basketball.
It was Osceola’s first win since going 1-2 during the holiday break. The Kowboys defeated Eau Gallie (79-66) but lost to both Wellington (70-33) and University (59-42). Rivera had 34 points in the win over Eau Gallie but Osceola played both the Wellington and University games without Sean and Chris Combs, who sat out with minor injuries.
“Ryan Rivera is really starting to come on strong for us but he still isn’t at the level he knows he can play at,” Mason added. “Without Chris and Sean, we really didn’t have much of a chance in the other two games. Without question, this team will need to stay healthy.”
But in getting on track Tuesday, Osceola jumped on top early as Combs hit a couple of three-pointers and Rivera dumped in seven points as the Kowboys grabbed a 19-9 lead after one period. Combs’ fourth bucket of the game extended the lead to 29-11 midway through the second period. Several key Osceola turnovers kept it relatively close at the half, however, at 28-17.
Although the Kowboys created numerous turnovers in the first half, they failed to convert many of those into points and several times turned the ball right back over when trying to create fast breaks. “It has been sort of a theme for us this season and it’s something we talked about at halftime,” Osceola Head Coach Steve Mason said. “I told them we are working way too hard to create turnovers and get the ball to just turn around and throw it away on the other end.”
A three-pointer by Caden Scarborough and a bucket by Noah Tribe cut the lead to 30-22 at the start of the third period, but Combs caught fire by hitting back-to-back 3s and scored 10 points in the period as Osceola began to pull away.
“We played a lot better in the third period,” Mason said. “Our pressure created a lot of turnovers and this time we did a much better job of taking care of the ball. We were a lot more patient and drove the ball inside rather than just settling for threes.”
Osceola opened the third quarter with a couple of three-pointers from Rivera, the second of which extended the lead to 20. With six minutes remaining in the game, both teams went to their bench as the Kowboys cruised to the 19-point win.
In addition to the big games from Rivera and Combs, Mason praised the play of forward Corey Vega. Although he only scored five points, he had eight rebounds and was an intimidating force underneath against the taller Longhorns squad.
“As he gets more and more in basketball shape, he continues to get better and better underneath,” Mason said. “We’re not a big team but Corey continues to play like a 6-5 guy.” In addition to Vega, Tyler Newsome had five points and eight boards and Sean Combs added seven points.
Harmony was led by Scarborough, who had nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Dallin Richardson had seven and Miguel Tirado had six for Duke Leonardo’s team that fell to 6-6 on the season.
“I do want to give Harmony some credit tonight, they came in with a really good game plan and even after falling behind, Coach Leonardo’s team kept their composure and ran their offense despite getting behind early,” Mason said of the former Osceola assistant coach. “He has a relatively young team and once they get a little more experience they have a chance to be a real solid team.”
The Longhorns return to action this week with back-to-back road games at Gateway (Thursday) and St. Cloud (Friday). Osceola also has two more games this weekend, traveling to Winter Haven (12-3) on Thursday and returning home on Friday for a game with Poinciana (4-7).