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LECANTO — “It’s bittersweet.”
That was Liz Lynch’s reaction to her final high school basketball game. Still, that final game may be worth remembering, particularly if you were on the Citrus all-star team.
In the first-ever Citrus-Hernando Girls All-Star Game at Lecanto High School on Thursday and sponsored by the Citrus County State Farm Agencies, the Citrus stars dominated their Hernando counterparts, jumping in front 21-2 in the first six minutes. That led to a 53-19 halftime advantage and ended in an 87-38 Citrus County victory.
Lynch, the smallest player on the floor at 5-foot-2 but the most productive, afterward searched for ways to deal with her mixed feelings. One thing can’t be argued: She ended her prep career with a performance anything but mixed.
It seemed evident her Citrus County all-star teammates had similar approaches on how to play, which was a problem for the overmatched Hernando side.
The local team’s coaches — Brian Lattin, coach at Citrus High School, with the assistance of Crystal River coach Jason Rodgers — had no well-devised plan on how to approach the game.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Lattin said. “This is definitely for fun. How’s this: We’ll make adjustments as necessary as we go along.”
Adjustments weren’t necessary. This team of stars was operating on high octane, much to the detriment of their Hernando opponents.
Three Citrus County players reached double digits in scoring — by halftime. Lynch led the way with 14 first-half points, with Citrus High School teammate Lindsay Connors adding 11 and Tanika Jackson of Dunnellon 10.
Defense was the difference. The Citrus stars played the same intense style they had been taught — hard-nosed defense causes turnovers leading to offensive
The local senior standouts forced 15 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game and 26 in the first half. If there was a problem, it was finding a way to calm their intensity in the second half of a “friendly” game.
Lynch finished with a team-high 19 points, with Jackson next at 18 and Connors with 14. Marissa Dubois, also from Citrus, netted 11 and Seven Rivers Christian’s Andrea Zachar had 10, followed by Crystal River’s Lamechia Richburgh with seven, Lecanto’s Megan Straight with five and Citrus’ Megan Rogstad with three.
Top scoring honors in the game went to Brooksville Central’s Rhy Venturella, who finished with a well-earned 20 points. Alyssa Lamberson netted 10.
For the Citrus stars, it was a good way to end their prep careers.
“I liked it. You don’t have to be serious, just go out and play,” Lynch said. “And it’s cool being the first to (play in the all-star game). I was really excited to play with these girls. It definitely would have been awesome (to play with them during the season).”
Added Connors: “I really liked playing with the other girls. It’s something we talked about on the bench.”