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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Quite a night Monday for Bishop McLaughlin basketball.
The boys and girls teams traveled to Hernando Christian, each earning their first varsity wins. The boys won 75-64, and the girls claimed a 40-32 victory.
Hurricanes boys coach Steve Matesich said he was pleased to see his players pull together after just nine practices to improve to 1-1. "That was a huge win for us being the first varsity win in school history," Matesich said. "That really got everyone excited to go on the road against a district opponent and get the win."
Matesich is a disciple of longtime Jesuit coach Neal Goldman. Matesich is a 1991 Jesuit graduate, where he played under Goldman. He also was on Goldman's staff for five seasons.
Matesich hopes the foundation he pours at Bishop McLaughlin can be as solid as the one Goldman molded at Jesuit.
It will take time.
The Hurricanes start four juniors and one freshman, all playing varsity for the first time. The freshman, guard Michael Holmes, has 39 points through two games and eight 3-pointers.
Junior guard Coleman Hegensbach leads in scoring with 48 points and eight 3-pointers. And junior point guard Rob Gallagher leads the Hurricanes with 17 assists.
Despite three consecutive home games to start, Bishop McLaughlin's girls faced a rough start before Monday's win.
It began with a Nov. 16 loss to Cambridge 64-9. Then came losses to Ocala Word of Faith Academy (47-31) and Leesburg First Academy (45-42).
Hurricanes coach Meagan Sheehan said similar to the boys, the inexperienced roster will focus on fundamentals.
"Our team is younger than his," Sheehan said. "We're still learning how to handle the ball. They didn't understand how to take the ball out and substitute. They're pretty good at picking up things, but they don't understand why.
"They're making mistakes that are easy to fix."
Sheehan is encouraged by the play of 5-foot-10 junior Emily Moore and her 14-point average.
Others include freshman Lexy Angello and 6-foot-3 freshman Kristen Pawlowski.
CAN'T STOP HOPPER: Mitchell girls found all the firepower they needed Nov. 18 in a 62-51 win against Countryside.
Mustangs guard Kristi Hopper nailed nine 3-pointers - six in the third quarter - to match a career-high 34 points.
Those nine 3-pointers set a school record, and her 34 points matched the record she set last season.
"She's shooting probably 500 shots a day," Mitchell coach Stephanie Koslin said. "She really worked hard during the offseason.
"She loves basketball."
GULF DROWNING COMPETITION: Before their game Tuesday at Hudson, Gulf's girls were enjoying a solid run after dropping preseason games to two of the state's top teams in Bradenton IMG Academy and Winter Haven.
The Bucs were 4-0 before facing the Cobras, outscoring opponents 339-91.
Gulf opened its season Nov.15 with a win at Pasco (77-36). Then it won games against Ridgewood (69-31), at Zephyrhills (101-14) and against Springstead (92-10).
Bucs coach Mike Quarto said seven of his nine players are averaging double figures, including four of his starting five.
"All of them are playing outstanding," Quarto said.
Quarto also praised the addition of Zephyrhills transfer Santana Lennon. She's leading the the Bucs with 7.5 assists per game.
"She's doing exactly what I thought she'd do," Quarto said. "She a great one-on-one defender.
"It's like having two point guards with her and Dominique (English)."
Yes, Gulf is off to a strong start, but Quarto is concerned with the schedule ahead.
It begins Thursday at Ridgewood followed by games with Nature Coast, South Sumter, Mitchell, Pasco and Wesley Chapel.
"We're concerned that we might take some things for granted and forget about doing some fundamental things," Quarto said.