Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

4A-10 district basketball: Lakewood coach Wright says goodbye after loss

BRADENTON — In the end, Dan Wright's finale was not a memorable one. The last game of his 35-year coaching career at Lakewood on Wednesday was a synopsis of everything that had changed, everything that had allowed the competition to catch up.

Lakewood Ranch 58, Lakewood 52.

The Mustangs won on their home court and move on to the final of the Class 4A, District 10 tournament. The semifinal loss snapped the Spartans' streak of making the playoffs at 13 seasons.

"I told my wife before I left that we'll see if we can continue the journey," Wright said.

This was the final stop on Wright's farewell tour. He had watched his share of coaches in the county come and go. Some left on their own, others kicking and screaming.

Wright would go quietly.

There was no stomping his feet, no yelling instructions, even after Lakewood allowed a 38-34 lead in the third quarter to evaporate as Lakewood Ranch hit a free throw and sank two 3-pointers to take the lead for good.

The Spartans tried to rally. Alphonso Evans hit a 3-pointer in the final two minutes to make it a one possession game. But Lakewood would not get any closer.

As the seconds ticked away, there were just a handful of well-wishers crowded around him. After both teams shook hands, assistant coach Anthony Lawrence embraced Wright, as much to numb the sting of a final loss as to honor him.

With the gymnasium nearly empty, Wright walked across the court and into the locker room for the last speech to his players.

"It's a disappointing loss," Wright said. "Especially for the seniors on this team. It's been a long time since Lakewood has not had something to play for at the end of the season. But the kids fought hard like they had all season.

"I guess I'll be like Roy Rogers and get my white hat and white horse and ride off into the sunset."

4A-10 district basketball: Lakewood coach Wright says goodbye after loss 02/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011 12:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play


    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  2. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight


    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.
  3. Tiger Woods arrested in Florida on DUI charge, released

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a DUI charge in Jupiter, Florida, and spent nearly four hours in a county jail before he was released.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  4. After state, academics will trump athletics for King ace Brian Lee


    TAMPA — Brian Lee can still see himself on the pitcher's mound at Venice High School. Four years ago he was a freshman left-handed reliever just trying to keep King's state championship dreams alive.

    Pitcher Brian Lee participates in a practice at King High in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, May 26, 2017.
  5. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside


    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)