Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lennard High boys basketball creates a buzz with trip to state

RUSKIN — Lennard High School fans haven't had a ton to cheer about since the school opened up in 2006. But the Longhorns boys basketball team is changing all that in a hurry.

"They really are something, aren't they?" said school namesake Earl Lennard.

The Longhorns will enter the school record books today when they face Lake Minneola at 4 p.m. in the Class 6A state semifinals at the Lakeland Civic Center. It is the farthest any team has advanced in Lennard's brief history.

"We had a kid win state in the 400 meters and some individuals wrestlers reach the state tournament," Lennard principal Craig Horstman said. "This is unchartered waters for us in terms of team sports."

It also is for the student body. But Horstman said kids have quickly gravitated toward the team's success.

"Right now the support and happiness are at an all-time high," he said. "Everybody is talking about this game."

Earl Lennard, a former Hillsborough County school superintendent and supervisor of elections, said the excitement surrounding the team is being felt off campus as well.

"The surrounding community is really embracing this team and you can see the visible signs of support throughout the area," Lennard said. "The team has managed to really unite the school. They've lifted everyone's spirits."

Spearheading the charge has been a student section that calls themselves "L Block." The orange-clad group lead chants from the stands and have become a factor during the Longhorns' run.

"The atmosphere we had at our last home game (against Lehigh) was just crazy," Horstman said. "Coach (Danny) Gaddis said he thought (L Block) accounted for four to six points per game."

It's a far cry from the Longhorns inaugural 1-23 season in 2006. Lennard comes into today having won 10 in a row and 15 of their last 16. And the postseason has been magical. After capturing the first district title in school history, Lennard knocked off No. 10 Mitchell on a buzzer beater in the region quarters for the school's first-ever postseason win. They followed that up with a victory against No. 3 Largo before taking out Lehigh to reach the state semis. If The Longhorns are to continue their historic run, they'll have to do so against No. 1 Lake Minneola.

"We don't have a lot of size, but our players are fast," Lennard said. "And they do it with great teamwork. It's not just one guy. They play with great togetherness."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

. fast facts

Lennard vs. Lake Minneola

Where: Lakeland Civic Center

When: 4 p.m. today

Lennard High boys basketball creates a buzz with trip to state 02/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 5:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.