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Lennard’s recent hot streak results in Hernando Holiday Classic title

The Longhorns, who beat Sunlake in the final, no longer resemble the team that started 0-4.
 
Lennard junior guard Tarence Guinyard looks for an open man during a tight final tournament game against Sunlake on Saturday night.
Lennard junior guard Tarence Guinyard looks for an open man during a tight final tournament game against Sunlake on Saturday night. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published Jan. 5, 2020

BROOKSVILLE — Look out for Lennard because the Longhorns appear to have found their mojo after an 0-4 start to the basketball season.

That’s right, those same boys from Lennard have now won seven straight, including a 64-54 victory over Sunlake in the Hernando Holiday Classic championship game Saturday night.

“We’ve kept up the energy,” third-year Lennard coach Zarko Stojakovic said. “We believe we’re a 20-win team. We just got off to a slow start this season.”

But only a little bit slow to begin Saturday’s final.

Sunlake (8-4) did jump to a 13-7 lead, but that’s as big as the lead ever got. At the half, the score was tied at 26. Then after a couple of quick Lennard buckets to start the second half, the Longhorns (7-4) never trailed the rest of the way.

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Sunlake forward Joshua Bent looks for an opening against Lennard.
Sunlake forward Joshua Bent looks for an opening against Lennard. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

“I think we’re hitting the boards better and playing better defense,” said Lennard junior guard Tarence Guinyard, who led all scorers on Saturday with 25 points.

Stojakovic said when his team rebounds well, “we can play with anybody.”

It also didn’t hurt that the Longhorns made 20 of 25 free throws. Earlier this season, Stojakovic said his team missed 18 free throws in a game, or about the margin of that loss.

Throughout Saturday’s final, Lennard played with high intensity, a fact not lost on Sunlake coach James Bragg.

“(Lennard) just wanted to win more than we did,” Bragg said. “They out-hustled us, simple as that.”

Along with Guinyard, Dante Vaughn chipped in 13 for the Longhorns.

In the girls final, Wesley Chapel (14-2), which had dispatched Weeki Wachee and South Sumter previously, fell 60-51 to Eustis (10-5).