It was impossible to tell who was more excited, the young head coach or his sky-high players. One thing for sure, the enthusiasm was mutual.
On Friday night, 23-year-old Zach Gober, who just five years ago was arguably the top point guard in the county at Lely, was leading his alma mater to a 55-42 win over Golden Gate at the Trojans’ gym.
Gober was oozing enthusiasm and excitement as he gathered his team prior to the opening tip-off. The players were giddy as they gathered around their coach, who is filling in for five games for Head Coach Fritz Jacques, who is serving a suspension. Lely officials declined comment on Jacques’ status.
“Oh, man, it was amazing. I definitely was excited,” Zach Gober said. “I told the boys before the game that I have their back and I need them to have my back. We went out there and did exactly that.”
Lely, 7-6, had their hands full early with Golden Gate, 1-12, in a rivalry game that always creates enthusiasm among the players and fans.
Lely led 13-7 after one quarter, but really started to turn things on after a dust-up following a loose ball required the participants to be separated. Gober ran across the court to restrain one of his players.
“I think it was just a matter of getting used to what was going on,” he said. “The team and I getting a feel of each other throughout the first quarter.”
The Trojans weren’t seriously threatened the rest of the way and Gober was rewarded with his first win as a varsity coach. A huge celebration ensued.
“Oh, the energy was amazing,” Gober stated. “We Facetimed Coach Fritz right after the game to tell him the good news.”
Lely was led by JJ Dervil with 14 points and Jayden Noel with 13.
Gober realizes this five-game stint leading the varsity team is a great opportunity for him as a young coach. He is also Lely’s JV head coach.
“I have five opportunities,” he said confidently. “We go to Naples next,” he then stated, smiling, as he imagined the match-up of cross-town rivals he experienced many times as a player.