Jan. 27 defeat of Seton Hill sparks winning streak
By Michael O’ Donnell
On Jan. 27, Sam Jozenville sank two last second free throws to lead Flagler to victory. The Saints haven’t lost since.
The Saints have won six straight games, averaging 125.7 more points than their opponents’ 71.5. They have beaten Johnson and Wales, Newport News Apprentice, Morris, Florida College and Florida Christian. According to sophomore center Ben De La Cruz, it was the Seton Hill game that really got the Saints on the winning track.
“I don’t know if most of the fans knew this when we played them, but Seton Hill was a great team,” De La Cruz said. “They are a good team and it was a big win and huge confidence boost for us.”
The wins against Newport News Apprentice and Morris came on an emotional weekend for the Saints. On Friday night, Flagler retired the No. 11 jersey of Flagler legend John Randolph. Randolph’s number can never be worn by another Flagler men’s player.
On Saturday, Clark honored his senior players and staff: forward Sam Jozenville, guard Lee Wise, guard Kyle Cregan, student assistant Nate Tepp, and student assistant James Russell. According to Clark, the seniors on the team are going to be very hard to replace.
“I have been fortunate to be around great staff members and had great players,” Clark said. “My student assistants have done a really great job. Sam is always a constant for us and Lee and Kyle have a lot of experience, in having been a part of two national championship teams.”
De La Cruz and the rest of the Saints are excited they will still be playing basketball, as they look to ride their six game winning streak into the third annual National Independent Tournament at ALICO Arena in Fort Myers Feb. 25-27 (see story page 11).
“Since we do not have a national tournament, this is our own little national tournament,” De La Cruz said. “We are excited to be playing in a gym that holds 8,000 people and playing teams from all over the country.”
“Lady Luck” may not be on the Saints side, though. They open against the defending champion and host Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.
“We are going to have to play a real solid game of basketball to beat them on their home court,” Clark said. “Our guys like challenges. I think it should be a good game.”