Championship game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off gets underway

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Gators-Buckeyes Tip-Off championship
Credit: WINK News

A rivalry is unfolding Wednesday night in Fort Myers. The Florida Gators are taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Championship Game.

These teams aren’t strangers to playing each other for a title. They did so for NCAA National Title in 2007.

Not only is this an important night for players and coaches, but fans were excited as well. The Gators and Buckeyes were playing to a sold-out crowd. They were loud and passionate.

There was a sea o orange and blue and scarlet and gray. Jeffrey Richards is from Frot Myers. “I expect a Florida win,” Richards said.

Wesley Woods is from North Port. “Ohio State is taking a dub,” Woods said.

The stands were packed at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. “It’s kind of a bitter.. kind of hateful rivalry,” Richards said.

Joe Caito is from Largo. “Florida is a rival for us,” Caito said.

Clint Woods is also from North Port. “You couldn’t ask for a better matchup to have the home state team with my favorite team,” said Clint.

Richards says playing for the title makes his experience mean more. “It means a little bit more when you’re playing for a championship plus Ohio State,” he said.

These two teams met in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Championship Game on Wednesday night. This is something the Gators and Buckeyes are accustomed to, dating back to 2007.

“I went to both the national championship game in football and basketball. When we played Florida and lost both games to Florida,” said Caito.

Clint Woods say that was an unforgettable year. “I will never forget that year,” said Clint.

Gator fans have held both of those wins over Buckeye fans for years. And those Gator fans hope Wednesday can add to that streak.

Bob Zientek lives in Cape Coral. “Bragging rights is for me just as important as who wins the game or not,” Zientek said.

Al Ducharme is from Leesburg. “I just love teasing my friend about it because he thought the Gators couldn’t compete with Ohio State, and I think we showed him a thing or two,” Ducharme said.

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