By Dave Brousseau
COCONUT CREEK – The Stranahan boys’ basketball team spent 60 years struggling to reach the mountain top.
Perhaps the answer was waiting in the newly renovated swimming pool on the east side of the school’s gymnasium.
Stranahan coach and alumni Terrance Williams had a quirky approach to the 2018-19 season. The future of Dragons boys’ basketball was in the water. If they learned to swim, they could win.
No more treading water.
The culture change in training regimen played a strategic role in leading Stranahan to its first state boys basketball championship, a 63-54 victory over Lakewood for the Class 6A title this past March. They finished the season with a school best 27-6 record.
Back to the pool to do it all over again.
“We need to keep that intensity and focus for another championship run,” said Williams. “We keep repeating to the guys that championship is the championship and its time to focus on another one. It’s going to 20 times harder as it was the first time.”
Stranahan is in a positive place in effort to win back-to-back champions. Only four schools in Broward basketball history have achieved that milestone. They are Blanche Ely, Dillard, Pine Crest and Westminster Academy.
Apart from senior guard Brian Dugazon, the Dragons have four returning starters in Inady Legiste, Daquion Vickers, Dave Herard and Chase Culpepper. The addition of transfers in guard Jayden Fye from Blanche Ely and forward Thadeus Squire from Boyd Anderson will help bolster a talented roster.
Stranahan will need to play at a high level following the FHSAA’s realignment of classifications following last season. The Dragons have been assigned to Class 4A and face the difficult task advancing out of a region that includes University School, American Heritage, Cardinal Gibbons, Coral Springs Charter and several top Miami-Dade schools.
Williams has put together a challenging schedule to prepare for the tough road ahead. That includes a Hoop Fest in Dallas and the Kreul Classic. In addition to preseason games against Jacksonville Andrew Jackson and Providence, they’ll face Ely, Deerfield Beach, Dillard and Miramar.
“We feel we have a deeper team than last year and stronger rotation,” said Williams. “With a tough schedule we’ll need to be mentally tougher too.”
Williams made it clear the effort to repeat will be the toughest thing for the coaching staff. There will be no time to take a day off.
Said Williams, “We’re proud of these kids and the program. One more year, one more championship and back to the swimming pool.”