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When Kurt McColley and Frank Vilardi sat together in a middle school gym recently and got to talking about the state of youth basketball in Citrus County, the two co-authored an idea that will come to life tonight at Lecanto High School.
McColley, the director of Hoops Link Inc., and Vilardi, the Lecanto High School boys basketball coach, both have their hands in the Citrus-Hernando All-Star Game.
“I’ve been looking to do something for the past few years,” said McColley, whose Hoops Link is a co-sponsor. “The county looking to get into youth sports, that kind of started it.”
The event will feature two games, one each for high school senior boys and girls, to be played between Citrus County and Hernando County athletes.
At halftime of each event, a 3-point shootout is scheduled among the players.
For both games, admission is $3 per person.
A Citrus/Hernando team used to compete against a squad from Pasco County, but according to Vilardi, that game ceased to exist, opening the door for a new set of games.
“It left our guys out a little bit,” he said. “We talked to a couple of coaches and they thought it was a good idea.
“There’s not many girls’ events also,” Vilardi continued. “We wanted to get them involved as well.”
Both Vilardi and McColley credited 11 State Farm agencies spread across Citrus and Hernando counties for sponsoring the teams and games.
“They decided they would sponsor,” Vilardi said, “and we couldn’t have done it without the support of (State Farm).”
At the end of the day, the focus is on the athletes: nine each on the male and female side will hoop it up, with Crystal River, Citrus, Lecanto, Seven Rivers represented, along with Tanika Jackson from Dunnellon.
Citrus boys roster
Matt Taylor, Crystal River
Randy Lynn, Citrus
Abe Juste, Citrus
Mike Makros, Lecanto
Connor Dupler, Lecanto
Richie Rizzolo, Lecanto
Christen Young, Lecanto
Robert Vega, Lecanto
Geoffrey Ruiz, Lecanto
Citrus girls roster
Megan Rogstad, Citrus
Lindsay Connors, Citrus
Liz Lynch, Citrus
Marissa DuBois, Citrus
Ashley Meiman, CR
Lamechia Richburgh, CR
Megan Straight, Lecanto
Andrea Zachar, Seven Rivers
Tanika Jackson, Dunnellon
Jon-Michael Soracchi is the Chronicle sports editor. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or reached at 352-564-2928.