What's Up Zephyrhills

a blog – by Greg First


Bulldog Basketball

I was pleased to represent our newspapers along with Dave Walters and Jim Weber at the Regional Finals in the Dog House at Zephyrhills High School last Friday night. I have always been a football guy but must have forgotten how much fun and excitement is generated when the Bulldogs hit the hard courts. I remember the days of never missing a home basketball game when I was a student at ZHS and the courts were outdoors.

When teams would come to play the Bulldogs at home the school was located where Raymond B. Steward Middle School is at now. Many of you probably thought I was in a one room school house.  Come on, I might be old but not that old. The basketball team was outstanding.  When the visiting teams showed up they sometimes made comments about us not having an indoor gym and playing outside. We were referred to by many other names but our response came on the court. I would love it when there was a strong breeze. Our guys knew how to compensate for it and would be shooting baskets like crazy. The visiting teams had a hard time playing us at home. We now have a beautiful air conditioned gymnasium with no problem with inclement weather or a strong gust of wind changing the path of the ball.

Well it has been about 50 years since we were in the position that we are in today. In 1969 we made it to the regional finals and look where we are at now. Coach Alan Reed and his team of coaches and players have now once again brought boys basketball to the forefront in the State of Florida and Bulldog fans everywhere couldn’t be happier. Our team has chosen to take the high road while facing some adversity at times. It was interesting to me that Ponte Vedra High School which is only about 20 miles from Jacksonville decided to come up with a cheer while making the four hour bus trip to Zephyrhills. It went something like this, “O-V-E-R-R-A-T-E-D” and it continued over and over throughout most of the game. The home team fans and cheerleaders acknowledged every single positive move that our guys made. The Dogs kept their focus while being down 16 points at one time to the Sharks. They had a mission and they continued to implement the plan tying up the score at the end of regulation play. In overtime when it was finally said and done the Bulldogs came out on top beating the Sharks 76 – 68. I am sure I was not the only one having chest pains during this competition. It is starting to feel normal now and I love it. That will always be a night to remember at the Dog House. Many that have been around for a long time looked up at the banners from the 1960’s and remembered.

Today our team of photographers, reporters and social media along with hundreds of fans will be at the Lakeland Center to cheer on our Bulldogs as they take on Poinciana in the State Semi-finals in the final four competition. We wish them the best. Oh, and as far as being over-rated I just want to say this. Our team has earned each and every single advancement that they have made on this awesome journey. The administration, coaching, the hard work of the players and the awesome fans that we have in this community have made this possible and we should all be proud. We do all have one thing in common. We will always be Bulldog fans no matter what. Hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

February 25, 2016 Posted by | Basketball, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment