BROOKSVILLE- Right now, girls’ basketball is starting to wind down around the state of Florida. At Nature Coast Technical High School, the Sharks are hoping to make a run towards a district championship. Longtime head coach Emily Gore has her team right around the .500 mark and her team has had to overcome adversity facing the new complications in dealing with the coronavirus and having a basketball season. “The girls have done a great job of complying with all the little things we do to guard against coronavirus. It’s really become routine and they have bought into the expectations,” Gore said. “The toughest part is the quarantine stuff that can pop up out of nowhere on a game day. We also had to run a few practices with very low numbers.”
The team’s top player is undoubtedly their starting center Heaven Lee, who is currently averaging a team-high 19.6 points per game and adding six rebounds and a couple of assists a contest. For a team that averages just around 40 points a night, Lee accounts for just about half of that and Gore knows the offense runs through her junior center. “Heaven (Lee) is definitely our go-to player,” Gore said. “Her skill set helps us win games. We are still learning and growing together as a team but her play has been key for us.”
Sitting at currently 10-10 on the season, the Sharks have played well against just about any team in Hernando and Citrus County to date, outside of Crystal River. The Sharks have avenged earlier season losses to Hernando and Springstead, with Nature Coast now emerging as a threat with district tournament play looming right around the corner. The core of the team has been together for three seasons and Gore mentioned she hopes the team reached its ceiling. “This season has been like many others in most ways,” Gore said. “One big difference is that we have no seniors on our roster. This group of juniors has been together for three seasons now and next year all the work all these years will hopefully culminate into a championship.”
With Wesley Chapel as the undisputed favorite to win Class 4A, District 8, Nature Coast is on track to be the No. 2 team when the tournament begins. Though the Sharks have suffered losses to the Wildcats already, Gore now has her team back at full strength and should be able to compete for a district crown. “This team can make it to the district championship game and we’ve been talking about that,” Gore added. “The No. 1 seed in our district has had a great season and are favored to win. (Wesley Chapel) as many people say this is their year. They have great talent.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.