By  J. Daniel Pearson for Positively Osceola

The last four contests between Harmony and Osceola were decided by two points or less and Saturday night’s Class 7A, District 6 championship game was no different.  This time it was the Kowboys, who came back from a seven point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime –where they eventually won 60-58.

“Harmony controlled most of the game,” Osceola coach Steve Mason said.  “I called time out and just told them, you can still win this game but you have to go out and take it.  We started putting on full court pressure, forced some turnovers and got back into the game.”

Sophomore Luke McCrimon scored 25 lead the Kowboys, who were seeded 8th despite the win and will face to-seeded Oak Ridge (23-3) on Thursday.  Osceola played Oak Ridge last month, losing 113-89.  “They are a great team, no doubt, but we played great teams all season,” Mason said.  “We may lose but we will not be intimidated.”  Osceola (14-11) has played one of the toughest schedules in the state this year, with their 11 losses coming to teams that have been a combined 129 games over .500 this season.

Although they won 21 games this year, Harmony was not ranked high enough to secure an at-large regional bid.  “It was a really tough loss, but I am so proud of this team and what they accomplished this year,” Longhorns coach Duke Leonardo said. “We were supposed to be in a rebuilding year this season and instead we won 21 games and came a couple of points away from another district championship.”

Although both St. Cloud (57-47 to Bartow) and Gateway (72-57 to Jones) lost in their respective district finals, the season is not over for the Bulldogs– who secured a #7 seed in the 6A, Region 2 tournament as an at-large team.  The Bulldogs (19-6) drew a difficult opening round opponent, as they will travel to Edgewater (17-6), the number two ranked team in the state in 6A.


It’s win or go home time for a lot of area teams this week as the FHSAA begins regional play in the sports of soccer and basketball.  Meanwhile a bevy of girls’ weightlifters will be seeking state championships titles this weekend in Lakeland; while area grapplers will take the first step towards the Silver Spurs Arena and the state championships as District Wrestling Tournaments are held this week.

Here is a look around the county for this extremely busy week of action:


With the announcement of the four at-large teams in each bracket, five Osceola County teams remain alive in the state championship tournament.  District champions Celebration (boys) and Harmony (girls) will host regional quarterfinal play on Tuesday; while at large teams Gateway (boys), Celebration (girls) and St. Cloud (boys) will also play on Tuesday night.

Long a state power that is used to long runs in the post-season, the Storm boys’ team (9-2-2) won both OBC and District (7A. D 9) championships this year and earned a number two seed in region 3.  They will host Palm Beach Central (7-1-4) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night.  The Harmony girls’ team (13-3-0) also won OBC and District (7A, D9) titles and will host Treasure Coast (13-3-0) at 6 p.m. on the same night.  Despite not winning a district title (3-1 loss to Horizon), the Gateway boys team (13-4-1) not only earned an at-large spot but grabbed the number four overall seed in 5A, Region 2, which gives them a 7 p.m. Tuesday home game against Cypress Creek (10-5-0).

Both the Celebration girls’ team (#8 seed in 7A, Region 3 at 12-3-0) and the St. Cloud boys teams (#5 Seed, 6A, Region 2 at 12-5-2) will have their hands full on the road Tuesday.  Celebration will face the top-seed in Boca Raton, who comes in with a 14-2-2 mark; while the Bulldogs must travel to Melbourne, a team that beat them 5-0 in the district tournament last week.

With a win, county teams would advance to Friday night’s regional semifinals.  As the number two seed, the Celebration boys would be guaranteed to host a second round regional game.  The Storm enter the regional tournament as the hottest team in the county – winning eight straight matches while surrendering only one goal total in the process.  “After losing a lot of talent to graduation, we started a little slow this year, but we have started to put some things together,” assistant coach Chad Boudreaux said.  “From this point on, every team you face is going to be good.  We’re glad to have an opportunity to earn potentially two of those games at home.”


Four teams from Osceola County will compete in basketball regional action this week.  St. Cloud, which won both their district and OBC titles this year, has earned a #1 seed in Class 6A, Region 2.  This means that as long as the Lady Bulldogs keep winning, they will get to play on their home court through the regional finals.  St. Cloud (21-6) will open at home Wednesday night against New Smyrna Beach (14-6) at 7 p.m.  A win puts them at home next Monday (2/19) against the winner of the #4 Kathleen vs. #5 Wekiva match-up.   St. Cloud already owns a win against Kathleen, beating them last week 53-40 in the district finals as Emily Lockey and Danigzy Mantilla each scored 16.  Three other teams all won district championships as Tohopekaliga defeated Harmony, 38-32; Gateway defeated Lake Wales in Class 5A, District 7 (37-25) and City of Life won the Class 2A, District 8 title with a 50-41 win over Lakeland Victory Christian.

Alyssa Marino led the Panthers with 10; while Karli Cole and Malayna Stevenson scored 9 in the Panthers 5A, District 7 championship win.  Gateway (18-6) will be a #3 seed and will host Tampa Spoto (17-6) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Despite winning a district championship and enjoying their best season in school history, Tohopekaliga (17-3) did not get any favors from the FHSAA as they are seeded eighth in their regional and will travel to #1 seed Dr. Phillips (22-4) on Wednesday.

Likewise, City of Life will have their hands full as the #8 seed in Region 2.  They will play at #1 seed North Florida Tampa Christian Academy (20-2) on Wednesday night.


St. Cloud will send seven competitors to the FHSAA State Championship meet on Friday in Lakeland.  Ashley Aun (110-lb. class) will be among the favorites to bring home state championships in both the Olympic (Snatch and clean-and-jerk) and Traditional (Clean-and-jerk, Bench press); while teammate Reese Butler, who won the regional title in the Olympic and finished second in the Traditional), could also challenge for multiple titles.  Tohopekaliga’s Alexa Woodman, who won regional titles in both the traditional and Olympic disciplines, will face tough challenges from Madison Montgomery (Stuart, Fla.) and Shannon Bryan (Pace) at the state competitions, but will be a favorite to reach the top three in the podium in both events.  “If things go well we could bring four more state titles back to St. Cloud,” Lady Bulldogs coach Cory Aun said.  “Several other of our lifters will have a chance to reach the podium.”


With eyes on the FHSAA Individual Bracket Tournament (IBT) state tournament, county wrestlers will take their first step to qualifying when district tournaments are held this week.  St. Cloud gets things underway on Thursday (2/15) when they host the Class 2A, District 7 tournament.  Defending 2A State Champion Lake Gibson will in the field, as will county foes Gateway and Liberty.

Osceola, who finished second in the FHSAA Dual Meet state championships last month, will be the favored to capture another district title when they host the Class 3A, District 6 meet on Friday.  Celebration and Poinciana will also participate; with Bartow, George Jenkins, Haines City, Ridge Community and Winter Haven rounding out the eight-team field.  “Between injuries and illness, we’ve been a pretty broken up team all year,”  Osceola Coach Rick Tribit said.  “With this last week off, hopefully we’ll get most of our team back for districts.”

As the Kowboys, Harmony will also be favored to repeat as district champs when they host the 3A, D9 meet on Saturday.  Freedom will be the most likely challenger for the Longhorns; while Tohopekaliga also will look to advance wrestlers into the next round. Boone, Colonial, Cypress Creek, Lake Nona and Oak Ridge make up the rest of that district.

Although team scores will be kept, advancing as many wrestlers as possible to regionals is the goal for all teams.  The top four finishers in each weight class make it through to regionals.  Osceola, Celebration, and Poinciana wrestlers that advance will compete in the 3A, Region 2 championships, Feb. 23-24, at Osceola High School; Harmony and Tohopekaliga wrestlers getting through will grapple at the 3A, Region 3 meet at Seminole Ridge High; while St. Cloud, Gateway and Liberty qualifiers will wrestle at the 2A, Region 2 meet at Brandon High School (Feb. 23-24).

TUESDAY (Feb. 13)

Boys soccer

  • Class 7A: Palm Beach Central at Celebration
  • Class 5A: Wesley Chapel Cypress Creek at Gateway

Girls soccer

  • Class 7A: Treasure Coast at Harmony
  • Class 7A: Celebration at Boca Raton


Girls basketball

  • Class 7A: Tohopekaliga at Dr. Phillips
  • Class 6A: New Smyrna Beach at St. Cloud
  • Class 5A: Tampa Spoto at Gateway
  • Class 2A: City of Life at North Tampa Christian Acad.

THURSDAY (Feb. 15)

Boys basketball

  • Class 7A: Osceola at Oak Ridge
  • Class 6A: St. Cloud at Edgewater


  • 2A, District 7 Championships at St. Cloud (St. Cloud, Liberty, Gateway)

FRIDAY (Feb. 16)


Regional semifinal


  • Class 3A, District 6  Championshiops at Osceola (Osceola, Celebration, Poinciana)

Girls Weightlifting

  • FHSAA Class 3A State Championships at Lakeland

SATURDAY (Feb. 17)


  • Class 3A, District 9 Championsips at Harmony (Harmony, Tohopekaliga)

Girls Weightlifting

  • FHSAA Class 2A and 1A State Championships at Lakeland