09.19.19 | News
September 2019 Hoop History
Just being invited to participate in the City of Palms Classic high school basketball tournament is an achievement for any high school basketball team. But can you imagine winning it? Can you imagine winning it five times?
Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers is the only team who can claim that honor. Granted the fields were much smaller than and not attracting the nation’s top teams as the tournament does now, but the Panthers dominated the event in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. They claimed three consecutive titles from 1979 to 1981, and two more in 1983 and 1984, going a combined 18-0.
Leading those teams was Elmer Tremont, the winning coach in Lee County sports history. Tremont passes away earlier this year at the age of 89, but his legacy lives on. If it had a ball, Tremont coaches it, winning 732 games in football, basketball and volleyball. Many of those wins came at Cypress Lake where he coaches boys and girls basketball for 29 years.
“Ah, rule No. 1 is that Coach is always right,” Cypress Lake basketball player Calvin Harrison told The News-Press in 1977. “Rule No. 2 is to refer to No. 1 when in doubt what to do.”
Although Fort Myers High took the title in 1982, keeping Cypress Lake from a fourth straight title, Tremont took the Panthers to Florida high school tournament’s Final Four – his only appearance, although he would return to another Final Four in 1992 with the girls team.
Montverde has a chance this year to break a tie with Fort Myers and Los Angeles Westchester and become the only four-time champion.
Cypress Lake won its first four titles while the tournament was played at then Edison Community College and took its fifth when the classic was played just once at Cape Coral High