By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
Photography by Cheryl Clanton
LAKELAND- As the seconds ticked down in last week’s Class 6A state semifinal between Weeki Wachee and Plantation American Heritage, the Hornets were well out of range in making any kind of comeback attempt.
Eventually losing 56-26, the Hornets knew that despite the loss to the defending Class 6A state champions, they had accomplished something no other team in Hernando County had done: reach the state’s final four.
Facing the eventual state champions, in which American Heritage ended up beating Bishop Kenny 58-40 for the title, Weeki Wachee can keep their heads held high knowing the program is in great shape. Weeki Wachee’s magical ride to the Class 6A state semifinal ended and the Hornets completed the school’s best season in program history. The Hornets end the 2018-2019 campaign with a record of 26-5.
Weeki Wachee head coach Mike Munro spoke proudly of his senior-laden group. When he took over the program, the team was on a 55-game losing streak. The trio of Seytia Hill, MyKenna Corbett and Shayleese Vazquez are all graduating this spring and leave a legacy behind them.
“All three of them scored over 1,000 points for their careers,” Munro said. “Two of them were able to break over 1,000 rebounds for their careers and I believe they’ve won a total of 87 games together. They came in as freshmen and when I got here, the program was on a 55-game losing streak. They leave a lot for the younger players to live up to. They helped put (Weeki Wachee) on the map.”
In the opening quarter against the back-to-back state champions, Weeki Wachee was able to hold its own and actually stayed within single digits midway through the second quarter. The Patriots, however, ended up going on a run to end the second period and held the Hornets to just one point and eight total by intermission.
The third period became a flurry of turnovers for Weeki Wachee, as American Heritage played press defense for most of the quarter and forced several Hornets’ miscues. Though the running clock never came into effect, American Heritage played with reserves for most of the final quarter of play.
Hill and Vazquez were not able to get anything going in the low post area against American Heritage’s frontcourt. The duo finished the game combining for a total of 14 points and nine rebounds. The game’s top scorers was American Heritage’s Paris Sharpe (16 points, nine rebounds) and Daniella Aronsky (11 points, four assists).
“(American Heritage) is a great team for sure,” Hill said. “We didn’t take them lightly at all and they were everything we thought they may be and more. We haven’t played anybody with their type of size and speed. We came out and gave it our all.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.