For the second consecutive game at the Naples Daily News Gulfshore Shootout, the Naples Golden Eagles played well enough to win but fell just short.
Naples (2-10) battled Lemon Bay for four quarters, trailing by two with less than a minute to go before ultimately falling to the Manta Rays, 75-69.
"The effort has been better these last two games, but we're still making too many mistakes to win these close games," Naples coach Jamie Dockweiler said. "In the first half of this game, we gave them too many easy fast breaks where we just didn't get back on defense. In the first game (a loss to Cypress Bay on Wednesday), we didn't hit our free throws. We're in so many close games, and it seems like a different aspect of the game is hurting us each time."
The Manta Rays (8-5) got off to a quick start against the Golden Eagles, taking a 17-8 first quarter lead behind seven points from junior point guard Mike Maresca. Maresca was a thorn in the Golden Eagles' side all game, finishing with a game-high 20 points.
Naples responded with a 14-0 run of their own, bridging the first and second quarters. Tyler Gubbrud drilled consecutive three-pointers to give the Golden Eagles a 20-17 lead, and Conor Garvie capped the burst with a short jumper to extend the lead to 22-17 and force Lemon Bay coach Tom Catanzarite to call a timeout.
The Manta Rays settled down and got back into an offensive flow in taking a 31-28 halftime lead.
Lemon Bay seemed to take a stranglehold on the contest in the third quarter, controlling the tempo and winning the physical battle as well. However, Naples' shooting kept them in range, as long-range shots from Steve Parliament and Gubbrud made sure the game stayed in single digits heading into the fourth quarter.
Trailing by nine in the fourth, Naples whittled away at the deficit with their shooting prowess.
Carey Butterworth connected on two straight possessions, cutting the Lemon Bay lead to 53-50.
"We always seem to do that, get ourselves into a hole and fight hard to get back in it," Dockweiler said. "Now the big thing for us is to somehow come up with the effort for the full four quarters, so we don't have to get ourselves in that situation."
The Golden Eagles made it all the way back at the 2:05 mark when Gubbrud found Zac Lavoie inside for a beautiful reverse lay-up, tying the score at 64 apiece.
However, a defensive error on the ensuing possession crippled the Golden Eagles' comeback attempt.
Lemon Bay's Ed Laughlin beat his man inside, but the Golden Eagles compounded the problem with a foul, giving the Manta Rays a three-point play and a 67-64 lead.
"In our first game, we had a potential three-point play wiped away when our guy was called for a charge," Dockweiler said. "In this one, we made a mistake defensively and gave them a three-point play. It gets frustrating, but we'll keep working to get better. A win is what this team needs right now."
Naples will get a day off to prepare for its next game, as it will face the loser of the Western-Erie Cathedral Prep game Saturday at 10:15 a.m.
Cypress Bay 70, Naples 66
Cypress Bay (70)
Ventura 2 0-0 6, Lilly 0 0-0 0, Foeman 6 7-9 19, Torres 0 0-0 0, Nayman 0 0-0 0, Oliver 0 0-0 0, Avant 2 2-2 8, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Ragbeer 4 0-0 11, Enfield 1 0-0 2, Kaufman 0 0-0 0, Wilder 3 0-0 6, Stachan 0 0-0 0, Wisdom 0 0-0 0, Dubuc 7 4-5 18. Totals 25 13-14 70.
Parliament 8 0-2 19, Rudiaz 0 0-0 0, Solomon 1 1-2 3, Gubbrud 0 0-0 0, Garvie 0 1-2 1, Broselle 1 0-0 2, Butterworth 2 0-0 5, Thomas 0 0-0 0, Barcia 1 0-0 2, Leach 1 2-2 4, Dane 5 2-4 12, Molina 0 0-0 0, Lavoie 7 0-1 18. Totals 26 6-13 66.
Cypress Bay 22 22 9 17 - 70
Naples 12 19 21 14 - 66
Three-pointers: Cypress Bay - Ventura (2), Avant (2), Ragbeer (3), Naples - Parliament (3), Lavoie (4), Butterworth (1); Total fouls: Cypress Bay 19, Naples 15; Technicals: None