Longhorns bounce back after blowout at home
Face East Bay Dec. 14
By Steve Jackson
Coach Zarko Stojakovich’s Longhorns were blown out in their own gym last Friday by 8A District 9 leaders Plant City 72-42.
A small home crowd witnessed the domination by the visitors from warm-ups to the final horn. Coach Billy Teeden’s Raiders showed why they are the early-season favorites and the class of District 9, combining a bigger and faster squad on paper into a dynamic whirlwind on the court. Plant City overwhelmed Lennard from outside the arc and inside the paint to go up in the first quarter 24-12. Lennard could not match the Raiders physically and fell behind 70-34 by the end of the third quarter when, mercifully, Teeden called off the dogs, namely senior Justyn King and senior Jadyn Strawder, 6-7 and 6-5 respectively.
The loss dropped the Longhorns, momentarily, to 1-2 in district play with big conference games against Tampa Bay Tech Dec. 11 and against arch-rival East Bay Friday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 p.m. East Bay registered its first district win against Bloomingdale 47-42 last Friday.
Stojakovich’s Longhorns displayed their resiliency, however, by bouncing back Dec. 8 at The Villages tournament, beating South Sumter in a nail-biter 54-52 on a buzzer-beater by RaeShan Wilson to go 4-2 on the season overall. The two district games this week will set the tone for the Longhorns’ district standings. On Dec. 29, Lennard hosts DeSoto County and North Port for a pair of non-conference holiday games. District play resumes on Jan. 8 at Bloomingdale and at home on Jan. 11 with Middleton.