The Lehigh Senior High School community was in need of something positive Thursday night and got it in the form of a big region quarterfinal victory.
Cassidy Delva and Aleisha Curry each scored ten points as the Lightning surprised Barron Collier 46-38 at Barron Collier High in the 6A-3 region quarterfinals, giving Lehigh admission to the semifinals next week.
The win was a needed boost after the school was embroiled in controversy earlier in the week after several members of the boys basketball team were suspended from the team after posting an inappropriate video on the internet recently.
“Kids are kids sometimes, and they make mistakes,” said Lehigh coach Troy Whitehurst. “But mistakes shouldn’t cost a person the future. Our players showed a lot of courage and determination in winning this one.”
The Lightning meet Fort Myers High in Fort Myers next Tuesday night after the Green Wave easily handled Golden Gate on Thursday night.
“We sort of tried to get a feel for Barron Collier in the first half and laid back a little,” Whitehurst said. “At halftime, we asked ‘What do we need to do to win?’ and ‘How can we put pressure on them?’ And we tried to make Barron Collier to feel uncomfortable on offense.”
Lehigh took an early six-point lead on the Cougars Thursday, fell behind later in the game but then outhustled Barron Collier in the fourth to get the win.
“We fell apart a little in the fourth. We had so many chances to win, but we just didn’t do it,” said BC coach Mike Hamburg. “We didn’t handle this game well. We didn’t play well in any aspect. Hats off to Lehigh, because they came in hungry.”
Rojhane Azwoir scored 12 points for the Cougars. Megan Mosbach also chipped in ten.
“We’ve been inconsistent all season,” Hamburg said. “We missed too many shots to expect to win. We shot a lot better the first time we played them.”
The Lightning put it away with a 10-4 run within three minutes in the final frame. In that time, Lehigh forced Barron Collier into three backcourt turnovers and also made some big defensive stands to end it.
The Lightning played more intensely as the game wore on, according to Whitehurst.
“We moved slowly on offense and defense in the first half,” Whitehurst said. “But in that fourth quarter, I could see that we had more of a sense of urgency. These players are confident, and they believe in each other.”
Another key to the victory was the Lightning’s free throw shooting – the team made four of five in the final two minutes after the Cougars were forced to foul.