LUTZ — When 15-year-old Derek Maxfield was told to pack what he could for the evacuation center, he grabbed a basketball.
It turned out to be a popular choice.
Maxfield began shooting around about 9 a.m. Sunday on the outdoor court at McKitrick Elementary School and it wasn’t long before three other evacuees joined in for a game of two on two.
“I’m scared,” admitted one of them, 27-year-old Victor Tanner. “This takes my mind off it, kind of.”
Whatever safety the school might offer against the threat of Hurricane Irma, the staff here succeeded in keeping people’s minds off the giant storm.
And there were lots of people, 600 plus — 100 more than the evacuation center at 5503 W Lutz Lake Fern Road had planned for.
“Close your eyes and feel the music,” William Whiting told 14 people in an ad hoc, out-of-sync drum circle he was leading.
The instruction worked. Within a few minutes, …