By STEVE JACKSON
The Lennard Longhorns welcomed 2024 by winning two of its three games after the Christmas and New Year holidays. The Horns moved their overall season record to 6-9 under head coach Christopher Putnam. Only Sumner High of Coach Ryan Bethoney, at 9-4, has a better won-loss record among the five South Shore boys basketball teams covered by the ObserverNews.net print and digital.
Lennard fell 68-50 on Jan. 3 to 8-7 Northeast High of St. Petersburg. The Horns bounced back to defeat the 2-9 Canterbury Crusaders of St. Pete on Jan. 4. Then Lennard trounced one of the two IMG Ascenders teams 60-45. Now, the Horns have the tough task of facing four teams in a row with winning records. Prior to a Jan. 24 clash at 3-8 East Bay High, Lennard tangles with 11-3 Bloomingdale at Valrico Jan. 9, Tampa Bay Tech in Ruskin on Jan. 10, at 7-4 Newsome Jan. 12, and back at Lennard to try a tough 12-1 Plant City Jan. 17. All those games are scheduled to tipoff at 8 p.m. except for the East Bay clash set for 6:30 at Big Bend Road. Lennard has already lost this season to Bloomingdale 59-39 and at TBT 73-65.
The Longhorns have been led in scoring by 6-5 junior Arcadia Davis at 16.9 points per game. Davis has registered eight double-doubles along with 8.5 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per game. Junior Richard Sykes is hitting at 11.2 points per game along with soph. Jacob Mobley’s 7.3 points per game average.
In the recent 79-32 rout of Canterbury, Sykes poured in 23 points with four rebounds and two of four three-pointers. Davis had another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mobley added 10 points, hitting one of two three-pointers. Soph. Noah Jordan tossed in 14 points. Junior Allesandro Puccio scored five points while soph. Nate Jordan and soph. Edgar Delvalle both hit for two points. Lennard is expecting to get a boost with the re-emergence in 2024 of senior Nigel Roseboro, a veteran player who tallied six points and grabbed five rebounds versus Canterbury.
Spoto High is now at 4-7 under Coach Waymond Reed and had two tough opponents to deal with early this week: Sumner High on Tuesday, and high-scoring 12-2 Blake High on Wednesday. Winless Brandon brings its 0-8 record to Spoto for an 8 p.m. game on Jan. 12, which Spoto should easily win before traveling to play 1-8 Middleton, Jan. 16 and then visiting tough Durant 10-3. The Spartans are sparked in scoring by senior Jose Deleon at 14.5 points a game and 11 rebounds per game. Junior guard Johnaven Reed (no relation to the head coach) is an offensive spark providing three assists per game and steals at 1.3 per game.
East Bay of Head Coach Jeff Turner continues to improve at 3-8 after a winless season last year. The Indians play at 7-4 Newsome prior to hosting 5-10 Chamberlain High early this week. East Bay has a super tough Friday night game at 12-1 Plant City at 8 p.m. Next week the Indians host 4-9 Armwood Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. Then the lone-win Riverview Sharks come to EB for a 6:30 p.m. clash on Jan. 17.
Hustling guard 5-9 junior Aaron Quarterman along with big paintman senior Kamren Lovett, at 6-5, 275 pounds, lead the Indians. Quarterman is averaging 12.6 points per game with 4.6 assists each game and 1.7 average steals per game. Lovett is scoring at 11.7 points a game and collecting 9.3 rebounds per game.
East Bay added its latest victory before the holidays by topping Northside Christian of St. Pete 68-66.
Riverview is still struggling, trying to improve its 1-10 record under Coach Anthone Corpening. The Sharks had a crack at winning one or two games early this week. Brandon at 0-8 hosted the Sharks Tuesday and Riverview visited 1-8 Middleton Monday. A visit from powerful Durant is set for Jan. 12. Next week the Sharks go to 7-4 Newsome on Jan. 16. Visits for Riverview are set for Jan. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at East Bay and Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. at 7-6 Freedom.
Riverview is led in scoring by senior Bryson Kearney at 13.9 points per game; he also tops in four rebounds a game, 2.2 steals per game and 1.5 blocks per game. Soph. Elijah Gilroy is putting up 8.5 points per game while senior Alexander Mercer-Ericson is scoring at a 7.0 clip per game. Senior Malcolm Hunter is dishing 2.7 assists per game.
The ObserverNews.net print and digital also provide exclusive coverage of Sumner High by Francis Fedor weekly.