Over winter break, the Lecanto Panther Boys’ Basketball team played the Citrus Hurricanes and came out as victorious with a score of 79-64. The district competitors felt a great amount of tension on the court, and Lecanto players felt good about their win.
“Winning felt good, because when you don’t play a rival team, it’s not the same as when you do. The energy is more intense,” senior Robert Vega said.
The team shook their nerves and got amped up after halftime for the turning point of the game.
“The most exciting part in the game, I think, was after halftime, because before the half we were losing,” Vega said.
“The most exciting point in the game was when our team took the lead because we were down until the third quarter, and then we picked up our game and came out on top,” senior Mikey Makros said.
Head coach Frank Vilardi felt confident about preparations the team made against Citrus.
“We prepared the same way as we normally do, because we try to keep things normal before big games. We had some nerves and we fell behind early, but settled down and ended up playing real well,” Vilardi said.
During the game, the Hurricanes was pulling away from the Panthers on the scoreboard, but Lecanto did not regain their footing until the third quarter. Vilardi noticed problems on the court that were fixable before the game ended.
“In the first half, we were getting good shots, but they were not falling. The players did not get down on each other, but in the second half we caught fire and pulled away,” Vilardi said.
The Panther fans who attended the Lecanto vs. Citrus game put their hearts and souls into the spirit of the game.
“The crowd and the umbrellas were my favorite part, because they showed support for our team when they needed it the most,” senior Grace Payne said.
“The game was really loud and intense. Our goal was to be louder than the Citrus fans,” senior Michael Teti said.
The Panthers continue to work hard day in and day out to reach their goal of winning the district championship later this season.
“The Citrus game was better than any game we’ve played, because we all came prepared and strived for the same goal. I think everyone on the team played their hearts out, and now we are striving for Districts. When I play, I try to block everything out. Don’t worry about the crowd, or the refs. I just go out there and play ball,” senior Terrence Council said.