Lady Horns top Plant City, host East Bay Dec. 14
By Steve Jackson
RUSKIN — The Lennard Lady Longhorns return to the friendly confines of their high school gym this Friday, Dec. 14, to face rival East Bay after a tough match with 8A District 9 leader Tampa Bay Tech Dec. 11 in Tampa.
Last week ended on a high note, as the Longhorns used a dominant second quarter to beat Plant City 51 to 35 at home on Dec. 7. Lennard was sparked by its team captain Latevia Hall. Hall, #2, not only exhibited leadership on the hardwood but dominated the stats as well, hitting for 17 points, grabbing 3 rebounds, and registering 3 steals and 2 assists.
Lennard fell behind 11-10 in the first quarter to Plant City. The big Longhorn turnaround was in the second quarter when the girls outscored their Plant City visitors 17-4 to take a 27-15 halftime lead, which they never surrendered. The Longhorns won going away to move their record to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in district heading into this week’s games. Coach Jerome Mcwhorter said the Longhorns “turned the corner for their season” in this victory over Plant City. The coach felt like getting out of the early and unsuccessful, packed-in-the-paint zone and switching to a man-to-man defense enabled the Longhorns to take control of the game and get the much-needed win.
In the Dec. 4 loss to Jefferson, 56-46, the Longhorns battled tooth and nail in a physical game. The Longhorns, according to Mcwhorter, made too many mistakes in the second half, allowing Jefferson open looks, which they cashed in on. Halei Murrell, #14, was the Longhorns top point producer with 19. Murrell, displaying versatility, also notched 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 23 steals.
In the Strawberry Crest game the next night, the foes also presented a physical challenge. Lennard could not adjust to the opponent’s size, losing 57-41, despite another stellar night for Murrell who had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals.