Hormazabal Dishing, Swishing for Front-Running Hornets

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By Tony Pinciaro
Lakeland is profiting big time behind the exploits of senior G/F Tyler Hormazabal.

Some five years ago, Lakeland High girls’ hoops Coach Miranda Mangan realized immediately that she had a major player in then eighth-grader Tyler Hormazabal, so the decision to move her up was easy.

“We only take up middle school kids if they are going to play and contribute,” Mangan said. “We knew she was something special from the start. Even though Tyler was the youngest on the court, she played with no fear and a ton of passion. She always wanted to know what she could do to get better. It’s been a pleasure to watch her grow into the player and fantastic young woman she is today.”

Hormazabal has developed into one of Section 1’s premier players as she has been instrumental in Lakeland’s 8-0 start, best in Class A. The five-year varsity player is averaging 23 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, 5.6 steals and three assists per game this season. Hormazabal does all this while playing/embracing the team concept.

“Tyler would be the first one to tell you that a big part of her success is because of her teammates,” Mangan said. “We have a lot of talented girls on our team this season, but Tyler is definitely the glue that holds us together. Tyler is extremely unselfish and will always do what is best for the success of our team.”

Hormazabal consistently fills up the stat sheet despite being the opponents’ defensive focus. Opponents have learned that despite her offensive prowess, Hormazabal is just as effective as a facilitator.

“It all starts with my teammates,” Hormazabal said. “We open up the floor and move the ball around. Our goal is to put the pressure on the defense by wearing them down so they make a mistake. I know it’s a team game where everyone participates and contributes.”

Being an eighth-grader on junior varsity is difficult enough, but making the major leap to varsity is intimidating and also scary. Hormazabal recalled her first year on varsity and how the upperclassmen helped her make the transition. As a result, Hormazabal has been that guiding force when newcomers, especially underclassmen, join varsity.

“It was a great feeling to make varsity but I was also very nervous and I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself to do well,” Hormazabal recalled. “My teammates were great and very supportive, but I wish I would have told myself to relax and enjoy the moment. I want them to have fun and relax. I remember being in their position and I want them to enjoy the moment and the fact that we are winning. I try to lead by example by putting a lot of effort into practice, always having their backs, and continuing to support them.”

Even with her individual success, Hormazabal is happier with the team’s fine play. She said it can be traced to a couple of factors.

“We’ve been very focused from the beginning of the season and came in with a positive attitude,” Hormazabal said.

“We are all sensitive to the pandemic conditions and we are trying to make the best decision for the team to continue to be successful. I really love our team defense and the overall team effort has been a pleasant surprise. We are optimistic about our chances and Coach Mangan has done a great job of keeping us grounded.”

Mangan has had the pleasure of coaching Hormazabal for five years and her senior captain has left a lasting impression.

“Tyler truly is the type of student-athlete coaches wish they had on their team,” Mangan said. “She is coachable, disciplined, resourceful and self-motivated with a passion for excellence that you just can’t teach kids. She is the hardest-working player I have ever coached and she is extremely determined.”

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