A season after propelling itself into the upper echelon of North Suncoast boys basketball programs, Hudson will reach an even more prestigious tier next winter.
On one of Florida's most elite holiday tournament brackets.
The Cobras, who finished 15-14 and earned the program's first playoff berth last season, have secured a spot in the prestigious Kreul Classic, set for Dec. 19-23 in Coral Springs. Among the other notable teams in the field: Fort Lauderdale-based defending state champions Dillard and Pine Crest, and nationally heralded New Jersey power St. Benedict's Prep.
Cobras coach Jason Vetter, whose club secured a spot in the tournament after some other programs dropped out, said costs for the trip could total around $2,000. The tournament doesn't provide lodging for in-state schools, he added.
"A lot of little things happened that allowed us to go," said Vetter, who had to drop out of a local four-team shootout and reschedule a contest against Pasco to play in the Kreul. "Now we've just got to raise the money."
While exposing his team to elite-caliber competition, Vetter said he hopes the event can serve as a de facto showcase for senior guard Jarrod Branco, who averaged 21.3 points last season and hasn't committed a college.
"We've always been pretty creative (in terms of fundraising)," Vetter said. "If we've got to go out a few weekends and wash cars, that's what we'll do."
Vasquez interviews for old job: Former Hernando boys coach Tony Vasquez, who resigned before ever coaching a game following his arrest on misdemeanor exposure charges last summer, formerly interviewed for his old job Monday.
Vasquez, acquitted by a jury in April, said he was given no timetable for when new Hernando principal Ken Pritz would choose a coach. Vasquez is believed to be among at least four candidates.
"I got really good vibes from my interviewer, and he understands what needs to happen for Hernando to get back to what it was in terms of basketball," said Vasquez, who graduated in 1978 as Hernando's alltime scoring leader.
"I know what basketball was in its heyday there. I know what it took to get that and what it's going to take to get that back."
A Bears breakthrough? Central, coming off a 7-20 season, hit a pothole in an otherwise prolific summer when its title game matchup against East Lake last week in the Beef O'Brady's Summer League was stopped following an on-court altercation.
The Bears, 8-4 in the league entering the final at Gulf High, were trailing by two when play was halted with approximately 15 minutes remaining.
"A couple of guys got a little bit upset with each other," Hayes said. "I guess some stuff happened after the whistle, and some other guys got involved. It wasn't a good (situation), so I didn't think it was right continuing the game after that."
The Beef's league is among a litany of summer competitions Hayes has scheduled for his club, which returns all five starters and brings in two 6-foot-5 transfers. According to Hayes, Central won seven of eight games at a USF team camp, and won the high school division in an eight-team AAU spring league in Pasco County.
"We've been playing a little bit," said Hayes, whose club competes Saturday in an all-day shootout in Ocala. "I'm pleased with the progress."