By ROCCO MAGLIO
The Hernando High girls basketball team swept all of the games against the other teams in the county this year. They played six games against the other high schools in Hernando County and won them all. This is the first time that this has happened in at least 16 years according to the data available on MaxPreps.
On Friday, January 22 the Lady Leopards faced off against the Springstead Eagles. It was a hard-fought game. Even though the Leopards jumped out to a double-digit lead there was no quit in the Eagles. The Eagles kept within striking distance and made the Leopards earn the victory. The last time Springstead played the Leopards, the Leopards won by 24 points, this time it was only an 8 point victory.
Both the Springstead Eagles and the Hernando High Leopards gave it their all. If a ball was on the court several girls would dive to recover it. The passing lanes were crowded and often the passes would be intercepted. Both teams pressed the ball as it was brought up the court, and closely guarded the teammates that were nearest the ball handler.
Sy Crowley number 0 for the Leopards was their spark with 24 points. She often would sprint away for a layup and on defense she did not let up. She drove hard, often winding up on the floor after her shot or pass. She would drive collapsing the defense to stop her and then dish the ball or rise up for a shot.
Samantha Suarez number 11 for the Eagles fought hard. Her passing led to some easy looks for her teammates. Her defense and driving helped to keep the game close.
Due to the hard-fought nature of the game there were a lot of fouls. There were 56 fouls called and 66 free throw attempts 33 by each team. The teams did show tremendous respect for each other. This was exemplified during the game when Sy Crowley was knocked to the floor and held out her hand to request the help of Samantha Suarez. Samantha helped her to her feet.
Hernando finished with 45 points to Springstead's 37 points. Although the Leopard came away with the victory both teams should be proud of the tenacity with which they played the game.