A Hernando team finally gets to host Orlando Bishop Moore instead of vice versa. The school that has ousted every nonfootball team the county has sent to regionals this season is sending its basketball team to Spring Hill to take on surprising district champ Springstead.
But before feelings of revenge and "let's get'em!" start boiling, know that this Bishop Moore team isn't one of the powerhouses like its boys and girls soccer or baseball counterparts. Bishop Moore hasn't dominated its region, though it is consistently one of the best in the district. In fact, Bishop Moore's very presence in the region quarterfinals this season is a testament to will and perseverance.
Last season, during the Hornets' district championship game against rival Eustis, then-coach Rob Graham had a heart attack on the sidelines. He was in a coma for five weeks.
Bishop Moore lost the district title, then fell to top-ranked Florida Air Academy in the region quarterfinals. It was a trying, stressful season.
The Hornets (20-8) come to Spring Hill under a new coach, Irwin Hudson, formerly an assistant with Lake Howell, a Class 5A school outside of Orlando that has been a state title contender the past few years.
"I took this job like two weeks before the season started," Hudson said. "I was already in the process of getting my Lake Howell boys ready."
Then the team lost two starters due to some behavior issues, according to Hudson. This left the new coach with, essentially, a new team. The Hornets start one senior, two juniors and two sophomores, led by Danny Krazit, who averages 18 points.
The team is small, with the tallest player 6-3. Hudson is aware of the Eagles' height advantage and he's heard, "They've got a pretty good kid over there named AB Rodriguez or something."
By all accounts, said Hudson, this Hornets squad is an overachieving bunch.
"From losing Coach Graham to me coming in late and losing some key guys - this team has really exceeded expectations," Hudson said. "But I still think we've got some things left that we can do."
Vincent Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-848-1430.