Wiregrass Suffers Heartbreaking Loss on the Heels of a Thriller

Wiregrass Ranch’s boys basketball team survived a scare against fierce rival Wesley Chapel, squeaking out a win by a score of 55-53. The game remained close throughout, and it wasn’t until the very last seconds of the game that victory was delivered.

On paper, Wiregrass was the easy, home favorite. Wiregrass’ then 18-6 record gave them a positive comparison to Wesley Chapel’s 9-15 record on the season. However, Wesley Chapel’s team proved to be quite formidable and it took everything for the Bulls to eke out a win. Sophomore guard Elijah Howell doesn’t believe that they underestimated their opponent, though.

“I don’t think we slept on Chapel,” said Howell. “We were taking all the shots we wanted; we just couldn’t make anything.”

Senior guard Devin Wilson led Wiregrass in points with 19, leading Howell to declare him the most important player of the game.

“Some games we really needed him to step up as a leader and as a scorer and he did. Some games we would need someone else to step up and Jordan [Miner] and J.D [Hannah] would step up, which helped take the load off Devin and I,” explained Howell.

Howell and Hannah both scored into double figures, thirteen and twelve points respectively, and Hannah also led the team in total rebounds with seven.

The victory was the seventh straight for Wiregrass, and they were able to keep up their winning ways after a decisive 78-66 victory over Plant High School in the District Quarterfinals. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the streak stopped there with a 60-39 loss to Wharton High School in the District Semi-Finals. Even though this year didn’t end up how Wiregrass wanted it to, there are high hopes and expectations for next season as only 3 of the Bulls’ 15-man roster are graduating in the spring.

“Next year, I expect us to win 22-24 games and win the district championship,” Howell boldly stated.

When asked what they could focus on going into next year’s campaign, he held no punches.

“Next year we need to work as a team. The second half of the year we did, but we could be so much better if we play as a team from the beginning.”