Every step of the way this season, the Lehigh Senior high school boys’ basketball team has risen to the occasion, especially down the stretch when it was win-and-advance, or be left out.
As a result, Thursday, March 2 Lehigh (21-9, 5-0) will play in their first-ever Final Four, traveling to Lakeland, Florida to face Orlando-Edgewater (22-8, 4-2) in the FHSAA 7A semifinals.
With a win, the Lightning will compete in the program’s first state championship.
The Lightning, who struck heartbreak when star senior-to-be Stef’an Strawder was tragically killed in a shooting last summer, had a lot to overcome off the court before performing on it. On the other hand, the loss of Strawder has given coaches, friends and teammates much more to work for this year, playing this season in honor of the fallen Lightning 1,000-point scorer.
Winning the first nine games of the 2016-17 campaign before losing three straight games in the City of Palms Classic – going up against heightened national competition in the form of Atlanta-Jonesboro, Nashville-Brentwood Academy and Weston-Sagemont – streakiness has been the story of Lehigh’s season, but the Lightning have persevered with the season on the line.
In the month of February alone, they have won six games in a row, including three straight in the postseason – games against Golden Gate (49-47) and Largo (61-59) decided by two points.
The Elite 8 win on the road over the [Largo] Packers, along with multiple tournament appearances away from home this season, should have Lehigh ready for their biggest game yet.
In honor of the Lightning’s historic run to the Final Four, Lehigh Senior high and fans of the team will be sending the coaches and players off to Lakeland starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, the 2nd. The team will walk through the halls as fellow students give them applause, while the high school band plays in the courtyard, followed by a 9:30 a.m. bus sendoff at Tortuga Elementary.
To watch Thursday’s game online, visit this link.
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