Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
Weeki Wachee and Central join-in hosting their first preseason basketball classic
Hernando County, FL ---The week before Thanksgiving, three Hernando County high schools took an opportunity to invite nine teams outside the county to host their preseason basketball classic.
Central Breakfast Station Preseason Classic
Central High hosted their first Breakfast Station preseason basketball classic on Tuesday Night as The Villages, Central Florida Catholic, and Cypress Creek traveled to Brooksville for a two-day game competition.
“This is our first preseason game; it’s a typical preseason game. We struggled with the first half,” said Coach Matt Zendecki. “I am happy how the boys responded in the second half, and I thought they played a lot harder. It’s our first game together as a squad, we’re rusty, but I am happy.”
Central’s first game for the regular season is up against Bishop McLaughlin on November 26. Last season Central lost by only two points to Bishop McLaughlin: 46-44.
Zendecki said that the team has to get ready when they start playing their regular season. Some offensive discipline displayed during the first half against Cypress Creek is something they can’t afford going forward.
“We have to be ready when we start the season next week,” Zendecki said. “Our motto for this year is to get better every game.”
Villages 61 vs Central Florida Catholic 67
Central 65 vs Cypress Creek 44
Scores not reported (NR)
Cypress Creek NR vs Villages NR
Central NR vs Central Florida Catholic NR
Weeki Wachee High School’s Preseason Classic
Weeki Wachee jumped at the opportunity to host their first preseason classic, as well. Inviting Lecanto, Real Life Christian Academy, and North Tampa Christian Academy to their home court.
“It gives us a good measurement to see where we are,” said Weeki Wachee basketball coach Steve Boyett.
Last season the Hornets played six games on the road before their regular season started, which may have put somewhat of a stress factor on the team. However, they are making up for that this year by hosting a Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30. The teams that will be competing in the tournament are Tarpon Springs, Lecanto, and Central.
“Truthfully, the best coaching moments and the best ways to advance is through things you’ve done wrong so you can improve on those things. They all remember the things they do right, so we’ll break down the film, and we’ll definitely find things that we need to work on. We have a long way to go, but we are a long way from where we started, so I am proud of them,” Boyett said.
Lecanto 70 vs North Tampa 41
Weeki Wachee 58 vs Real Life Christian Academy 56
Lecanto 56 vs Real Life Christian 27
Weeki Wachee 79 vs North Tampa 60
Springstead Glory Days Preseason Classic
Springstead held its 8th annual Glory Day’s preseason classic on November 20 and 21.
“We are bringing a team back that are more experienced and ready to go. We have nine returning players from last year, and it didn’t end the way they wanted to, they’re hungry,” said coach Matthew McGarry.
Springstead is coming out of the 2018-2019 season with 12 wins and 11 losses. This particular preseason game tested players’ focus and discipline. It also gave them an opportunity to screen one particular team they will be facing in their regular game line up: Fivay.
Springstead lost to Fivay on November 26, 2018, 55-48, during last year’s preseason classics. In this year’s classic, Springstead beat Fivay 69 to 42. The two teams will face off again at Fivay on Jan. 22, 2020, for the District 5A-6 tournament.
“This is a huge evaluation tool, especially getting teams from all over the place,” McGarry said. “We don’t see Umatilla, and we don’t see Trinity Catholic that often, and to be able to see what the other counties are doing, it’s a good thing. We need to expand and get out and to go up against teams that we know nothing about.”
“Preseason is just a way to gauge where we are. I have a lot of questions about this team, and some of those questions will be answered throughout the year,” McGarry said. “I keep telling my guys there is no such thing as paper champions, we have got to be able to answer the bell every night.”
Springstead Glory Days Preseason Classic Results:
Trinity Catholic 39 vs Fivay 66
Springstead 65 vs Umatilla 35
Umatilla 61 vs Trinity Catholic 57
Springstead 69 vs Fivay 42
Preseason classics are a way for each basketball coach to get a different look at how their team coordinates before the regular season begins. It helps to fine-tune some player’s mechanics, as well as refine how players work together.
All in all, the preseason classics for Central, Springstead and Weeki Wachee were successful. Players and coaches are prepared to compete in their 2019/2020 winter basketball season.