February 7, 2024

South Sumter and Umatilla Keep Seasons Alive With Comeback Wins

2 min read| Published On: February 7th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

South Sumter and Umatilla Keep Seasons Alive With Comeback Wins

2 min read| Published On: February 7th, 2024|

South Sumter and Umatilla both secured impressive comeback victories to keep their seasons alive, at least for the moment. The Class 4A District 6 boys basketball tournament is always competitive, and Tuesday night lived up to that reputation.

South Sumter 68 | Dunnellon 64

The tournament’s first game kicked off with intense competition. South Sumter took an early lead, but Dunnellon surged ahead for most of the second half, with Eli Nelson proving challenging under the basket. Trailing by nearly 10 points by the end of the third quarter, head coach A.J. Bryant, battling a knee injury, delivered a fiery speech. This fueled a remarkable comeback by South Sumter in the fourth quarter, led by Mali Boone, Mikeen Harrison, and Rashad Johnson. South Sumter managed an 11-0 run, securing a win over Dunnellon and earning a spot in the District Semi-Finals against Eustis on Thursday night at 6:00 pm at The Villages Charter High School.

(South Sumter #24 Mikeen Harrison stepped up big to afford his team a chance to make the district championship game. Eustis provides a big challenge and the Raiders will lean on Mikeen on Thursday.)

Umatilla 58 | Lake Weir 52

In a game teetering on a big upset, Lake Weir matched Umatilla’s pace from the start. Despite Umatilla’s 18 wins this season, they struggled offensively, and Lake Weir led for most of the game. Umatilla faced challenges with Herly Brutus in foul trouble, but seniors Jadon Gibbs and Tyler Demetski stepped up. Down by nine heading into the fourth quarter, Umatilla staged a remarkable comeback, limiting Lake Weir to 5 points while scoring 20. Coach Patrick Todd’s defensive adjustments proved crucial as Umatilla secured a come-from-behind win 58-52, setting up a clash with The Villages in the District Semi-Final on Thursday at 7:30 pm.

(Umatilla sophomore #5 Herly Brutus found himself in foul trouble early in the game against Lake Weir but found his footing in the 4th quarter.)

The Villages 80 | Mount Dora High 27

Mount Dora High faced a formidable opponent in The Villages, and despite being underdogs, they were outmatched. The Hurricanes struggled offensively, and The Villages, led by Chris Washington and Ben Koubeck, dominated. The second and third squads got significant playing time, showcasing depth. The Villages, ranked #14 in Class 4A, will face Umatilla on Thursday night as heavy favorites, with Umatilla hoping for a defensive stand to make the game competitive.

(Villages sophomore #14 Kymani Weathers has been a joy to watch this season. Here he goes in for a layup.)

Thursday night promises intrigue, with Umatilla having a path to the playoffs even with a potential loss to The Villages. Ranked inside the top 25 in Class 4A, an upset win could significantly boost Umatilla’s standings. The Villages, eyeing the district championship, also has room for upward movement in the rankings. It sets the stage for an interesting Thursday night of basketball action.

#1 Eustis High School vs #4 South Sumter High – 6:00pm
#2 The Villages High vs #3 Umatilla High – 7:30pm

Games played at The Villages Charter February, 8th.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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