The Lely High Trojans are looking to continue their unbeaten string as they host the annual Pepsi Shootout tonight and Saturday.
"The idea originated with former athletic director Bill Blakemore wanting to give fans a little taste of Collier County basketball," says Lely basketball coach Don Stewart.
"There were two games going at once. It was unique and very exciting for basketball fans. We are using a staggered-time format so two games will be going on and expect it will draw the same interest this weekend."
Naples, Barron Collier and Gulf Coast join Lely as the county schools going up against Miami-Killian, IMG Academy of Bradenton, Lemon Bay and Miami-Southwest.
As in the past Lely uses its usual basketball floor and its practice floor. One set of bleachers used to be able to turn around, but with renovation last summer additional seats will be needed.
Action starts at 5:45 p.m. today with Gulf Coast hosting IMG Academy. Naples steps up next at 6:15 p.m. against Miami-Southwest. Barron Collier bounces out against Lemon Bay at 7:30 and Lely's tip-off time is 8 p.m. against Miami-Killian.
Lely, a 3A school, tests its metal right away, playing 6A Miami-Killian.
"They are a very strong 6A teams, with NBA players Steve Blake and Raja Bell as former Killian stars," says Stewart.
Lely, 5-0, goes against Miami-Southwest at 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
"They are really a scrappy team and very well coached by Tom Moore," says Stewart of Miami-Southwest. "They get after it, but they usually don't have good size. We don't have good size either so it should be a good matchup."
Other matchups Saturday are Naples against IMG at 3 p.m., Barron Collier battling Miami-Killian at 4:30 p.m. and Gulf Coast going against Lemon Bay at 6 p.m.
Lemon Bay returns after going 2-0 last year in the shootout. In 2005 the Shootout wasn't kind to Naples, Barron Collier, or Gulf Coast, each losing both games. The Trojans won their two games.
In regular season play, the Trojans edged the Golden Eagles Tuesday night, 66-63 at Naples.
"Naples is a very dangerous team," Stewart says. "They have good individual talent and good role players. Zac Lavoie and Hunter Dan are very good."
Against Lely, Lavoie knocked in 23 points and Dane 15. The Golden Eagles are 1-3, but two losses were by three and two points.
Lely's Evan Taylor has been the steady hand for Lely on offense and defense. Against Naples four players hit double figures. Taylor knocked down six three-point shots on his way to 20 points. Eli Ducatel played big around the rim, scoring 15, Kevin Swisher, a strong rebounder, added 10 and guard Rolph Bathold added 10.
Barron Collier is 1-4, winning for the first time Tuesday against Gulf Coast, 56-49. Chris Jacob, 18, Matt Clements, 12 and Mike Barry, 10, led Barron Collier. Mike Haight, 20, and Ryan Bellamy, 14, led Gulf Coast.