Tallahassee, FL -- Even without one player returning from last years state champion team, Eli Bryant knew that Rickards could be district champions.
"I knew what we were capable of. As a staff I knew we could teach it. We had that 'it'. It was just a matter of them believing and going through the trial and error part of it."
Their record is (7-15) and finished last in the district, but wins over Wakulla and Suwannee put Rickards into the playoffs for a fifth straight year.
"We just came together at the right time," adds sophomore guard Amani Muller. "We were saying all year that we were better than a lot of people and we finally showed it."
"Those loses added up and we wanted to show people that we had got better over the season," says freshman guard Jordan Gaskins.
On a roster full of underclassmen Coach Bryant says he's still teaching the same system that won two state titles.
"The only name across the jersey is Rickards. It's not an individual thing. We do this collectively."
"We just had to make a strong bond together in and out of the games, in practice," adds sophomore guard Charlie Kelly.
Jerrell Gregory can relate. He was a senior when Rickards went undefeated two years ago and now serves as an assistant coach.
"We had a good team (in 2010) because we played together for some years and we had experience. That's what we want out of these guys."
And the final destination is still the same.
"In Lakeland," adds Bryant. "In Lakeland. That's what we've been preparing for."