Junior Sean Combs scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter to lead the Osceola Kowboys to a 59-53 over Colonial in its 2020-21 season-opening game.
“Not sure whether it was the first-game jitters or what, but that was a C-plus effort at best,” Head Coach Steve Mason said. “But the main thing is we kept our composure and did what we had to do to win the game. There’s no question in mind that we have the potential to get a lot better.”
The game almost got away from the Kowboys early.
Dominic Sanders scored seven points and Elvin Sierra added five as the Grenadiers jumped out to a 20-9 lead after one quarter. “Just bad shot selection in the first quarter, it seemed like once we got it past half court we would just launch a wild three-pointer. We need to realize we’re not the Golden State Warriors,” Mason said. “We calmed down in the second period and started running our offense.”
Cory Vega, a starting offensive lineman on the Osceola football team, injected some energy in the Kowboys effort in the second period. He scored six points, grabbed three rebounds and challenged defensively underneath the basket as Osceola outscored Colonial in the period 19-9 to close the halftime gap to one at 29-28.
“Vega definitely gave us some energy and both he and Jamarion McCrimon are going to be a big part of our team,” Mason said. “But they just got done playing football and reported a few days ago and neither really knows our offense yet.’
But sloppy play in the third quarter limited Osceola to just 10 points as Colonial, now 2-1, forged back ahead, 41-38. “Give them a lot of credit, they scouted us well and broke our press early in the game,” Mason said. “We got out of rhythm early in the period and they took advantage of it.”
After the teams matched buckets early in the fourth period, the Kowboys would take control. Chris Combs came up with two steals and came up with a tremendous block and Sean Combs hit consecutive buckets as Osceola grabbed a 49-46 lead.
Two buckets and a free throw from Sanders kept the game close until Sean Combs hit a three-ball and Vega added a stick back to extend the lead to 57-53. Sean Combs would then hit a pair of free throws and Osceola’s defense held Colonial scoreless for the final 1:48 to secure the win.
For the contest, Ryan Rivera led all Osceola scorers with 14 points. Sean Combs had 11 and Vega and Chris Combs added 10. Sanders and Rob Paulino had 12 points each for Colonial.
The win marked the return to the bench for Mason, who compiled a 66-30 record at Osceola in four seasons from 2009-13. He stepped aside to spend time with his young family, turning the team over to his assistant Nate Alexander , who led the Kowboys to three state title games in seven years, winning two of those and recording a .771 winning percentage. Steve Perez coached the Kowboys to the playoffs last year, before resigning to enter private business, which set the scene for Mason’s return.
In the junior varsity game earlier, Osceola started four freshmen and routed Colonial, 74-30.