Lennard continues searching for first win
South Shore basketball eyes post-season
By STEVE JACKSON
The Lennard Longhorns have a busy and important week in South Shore basketball action.
With a 0-9 won-lost record, the Longhorns of Coach Will Gilford have four games this week, Tuesday through Friday evenings, desperately trying to break the ice and get into the win column. After dropping three more games, to Leto, Durant and Robinson last week, Lennard has a crack at possibly winning. That best chance is in Ruskin Wednesday, Jan. 27. Brandon, also hurting at 1-14, comes calling. Either the Eagles or Lennard will walk out of the gym with a much-needed and rare victory. Lennard visits Tampa for a Jan. 28 engagement with 3-7 King High. On Friday, Jan. 29, Coach Dell Chambers brings his 6-6 East Bay Indians to the Lennard hardwood. The Longhorns conclude the regular season next week, first on Feb. 2 at 2-19 Jefferson High in Tampa. A home game with 9-6 Freedom High of Tampa brings the curtain down on the regular season Feb. 5. Lennard will start district play Feb. 9 against a to-be-determined foe.
Battling the pandemic and quarantines has been tough for Lennard. But Coach Gilford’s Longhorns, although struggling, have not tossed in the towel. Inexperienced and undermanned, Lennard, according to Coach Gilford, is focused on creating a winning culture at Lennard right now (mentally, physically and emotionally). The first-year coach added, “We have a lot of work to do.”
Other South Shores teams are also contending with COVID-9. Riverview was playing against Plant City last Friday with one player quarantined due to a classmate’s positive test.
The Sharks lost 60-50 to Plant City after falling behind early and making a futile rally. Coach Milton Clifton’s team welcomed Durant to Riverview for a Jan. 26 game and then travelled to Armwood and to Alonso the rest of this week. Games with Chamberlain away next week and at Sumner Feb. 4 complete Riverview’s regular season.
East Bay beat Hillsborough High at home 46-42 last week before dropping a 60-50 decision at Bloomingdale. Next up for the Indians are home games this week with King Jan 26 and with Sumner Jan. 27. A Jan. 29 trip to Lennard is followed by road trips to Armwood Feb. 2 and Durant Feb. 4.
Spoto, playing without top scorer Benjamin Walker, lost to Robinson and Jesuit in Spoto last week to fall to 2-13. Coach Danny Gaddis’ Spartans look to bounce back at Sumner Jan. 26 before taking on Strawberry Crest and Lennard at home Feb. 2 and Feb. 4.
Sumner missed games last week due to COVID issues either at its school or with opponents. Coach Jamie Turner and the Stingrays this week had Spoto at home, then East Bay away and Durant on Big Bend Road Jan. 29. The 8-6 Rays conclude their initial season next week against King Feb. 2 and versus Riverview Feb. 4, both games set for a 7 p.m. tipoff.