By MEL SUITER
Photography by BETTY KOLAR
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. --- According to Hernando High School Basketball coach Travis Bruns, it was a win but it was not pretty.
The month of January is going to bring a lot of high school basketball across the state of Florida including Hernando County as the drive toward the state tournament begins.
Inside the Leopard’s Den, Hernando High School held on and defeated Weeki Wachee High School 50-48, Tuesday night January 7.
The game started with the Leopards getting the tip off and forward Jacob Batten hitting the first shot of the game, getting the Leopards started for the night and creating some excitement in the gym.
The offense for the Leopards scored 16 points in the first quarter, that is the good news but the defense for Hernando High School gave up 14 points to the Hornets who would never surrender.
At the end of the first quarter, Bruns got his team to the bench and they had a conversation. The subject matter must have been about defense because the Leopards came out and was everywhere that the Hornets were and the defense shut down the Weeki Wachee offense, the Hornets could only score five points.
“We are still trying to find guys who want to show up everyday for practice and that is the big thing, the effort from start to finish games or practice,” Bruns said after the game. “ Even In the classroom my expectations are a lot higher than they have set for themselves. They have to start living up to my expectations.”
Halftime both teams left the court, one team looking like they were ready to offensively explode and the other team determined not to lose the game.
Weeki Wachee came back to the court as the team that was ready to play the game. The pressure by the Hornets created more chaos for the Leopards, as the offense struggled to finish at the basket.
In the second half, Weeki Wachee came at the Leopards hard with a full court press that Hernando High School had trouble recognizing the defense and that created some mistakes with the ball and the Hornets made the most of the opportunity.
“I thought that we played hard down the stretch- we hold for the last shot but we didn’t and that is part of the learning process,” Weeki Wachee High School basketball coach Steve Boyett said about his team. “I am proud of my guys for their effort.”
As both teams left the court at the end of the game, the Leopards players wiped the sweat from their foreheads and could not leave the court fast enough to the locker room with the win.
Weeki Wachee once again felt the sting of being so close to a win but falling just short, they left the floor with more confidence that they started with and for Boyett that is a good thing because later in the season the Hornets are going to be a team ready for a win and they are going to be a dangerous team in the tournament.
Bruns knows that there is still a lot of basketball left in the season and for the Leopards getting to start the second part of the season with three games at home inside the Leopard’s Den is an advantage for his team.
Hernando High School will host South Sumter High School Thursday night, Jan. 9 and Friday night Jan. 10, Crystal River High School will be invading the Leopard’s Den with hopes of taking home a win both games start at 7:30 p.m.