SEBRING - The Lake Placid Green Dragons entered the second round of the 35th annual Taveniere Tournament as a depleted squad, as the team has been riddled with injuries throughout the season. Meanwhile, the Sebring Blue Streaks, despite the first round loss to Avon Park, has been an emerging force on the hardwood.
There would be no made-for-television heroic upset as Class 5A Sebring throttled Class 4A Lake Placid by a score of 62-26. The win improved the Blue Streaks to 7-3 on the season while the Dragons dropped to 1-13.
"Right now we are missing our top two scorers," said Lake Placid coach Dan Coomes. "Take the top two scorers from any of these teams and see where they are at. Now with (Scott) Colley injured, who was starting to emerge as a top scorer, all of our top three are out due to injuries."
Colley injured his ankle in the Dragons loss to Tenoroc in the first round of the tournament.
With basically no scoring threat, Sebring pressured the Dragons into numerous turnovers while holding them to few shot attempts en-route to a hefty 25-3 Streaks lead after the first quarter.
It only got worse in the second quarter.
Sebring reach the half century mark while Lake Placid struggled to reach double digits, as the Streaks went into the half with a 50-10 lead.
With a running clock to start the second half, Sebring brought in its starters for the first four minutes before sending in the reserves.
Sebring coach Princeton Harris commented how hard it is to accomplish anything in a game like this except for giving the substitutes ample playing time.
"We wanted to get our second squad in for some playing time and mix it up," Harris said. "The only benefit was we were able to rest our starters and Lakeland wasn't able to see what we can do. Lakeland didn't stay last night and by the time they got here today, the starters weren't playing."
With Sebring's second-string in for most of the second half, Lake Placid outscored the Streaks 16-12 as Sebring coasted to a 62-26 victory.
"You hope that the kids we have playing will learn," Coomes said. "And grow and adjust to do the things we need to do when we start getting some of our injured players back. If they can't do the things that are going to help, then it is reasonable to think that they will not be able to do them when we start getting players back."
He added that right now the Dragons coaching staff is watching the players to see how they are going to fit in when they get all of the pieces of the puzzle. He hopes that with their return, the Dragons defense and ball handling will be better.
"It's tough," Coomes said. "It's tough on them, they don't want to be embarrassed, we just keep trying to put it all together."
Harris and Coomes spent some time after the game talking.
"He told me 'thanks,'" Harris said. "Not everybody would have done that. I have had and always will have the upmost respect for Coomes."
Due to the loss against Sebring, Lake Placid faced Class 4A Frostproof on Saturday. The Streaks, meanwhile, played Class 7A Lakeland for the fifth place game. Results were not available at press time. Be sure to read Sunday's Highlands Today sports section for the complete stories and photos.
The game between Lakeland and Sebring has some added drama, as it will be a battle between the apprentice and the master. Current Lakeland coach Deron Collins was once the coach at Sebring, and the same person that hired Harris.
"It's a big thing and this game means a lot to the both of us," Harris said. "We love playing each other."