Bishop McNamara's Jay Gavin celebrated his 17th birthday in a special way. The 6-foot-2 senior guard scored 21 points and Marc Hill and Trask Ivey added 17 points apiece to lift the Mustangs to a 77-66 victory over DeSoto County in Game 14 of the Naples Daily Gulfshore Shootout on Thursday.
With the win, Bishop McNamara advances to play Gainesville-Buchholz today at 5:15 p.m. in Game 22. The Bulldogs play American Heritage today at 12:30 p.m. in Game 19 of the fifth and sixth-place bracket.
"Me and my teammates just tried to come out strong," Gavin said. "Our main focus was to pretty much stop their best players, get easy baskets and just work as a team all the time."
In a game that had the feel of a championship, the Mustangs executed their strategy to perfection in the early stages. Gavin scored 10 points in the first quarter to help the Bulldogs take a 21-15 lead, and DeSoto County's dynamic duo Shavon and Sheldon Shine were pretty much held in check during the first eight minutes.
Bishop McNamara led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter. Shavon and Sheldon started to heat up, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively, to make the halftime score 41-29.
DeSoto County desperately tried to seize the momentum in the third quarter, and nearly did. Shavon scored nine points in the third quarter, including a thunderous one-handed dunk, and Gavin was slowed by the tape on his wrist.
When Gavin removed the tape midway through the third quarter, the complexion of the game changed completely.
"I told my coach that I didn't want any tape or band aids," Gavin said, "because it was going to affect me. The trainer told me I could take it off and I played a little bit better."
The Bulldogs got as close as eight, 69-61, in the fourth, but the Mustangs outscored DeSoto County 8-5 to provide the final margin.
"It's always nice to win a basketball game," Gavin said. "Last year on my birthday, I lost so it feels good to win one this year. I couldn't do anything without my teammates."
Buchholz 58, American Heritage 43
Trae Mayberry's muscle and Gainesville-Buchholz's hustle helped the Bobcats use a solid second-half effort to defeat American Heritage-Plantation, 58-43, in Game 13 of the Naples Daily News Gulfshore Shootout on Thursday.
Mayberry scored a game-high 21 points while containing Eloy Vargas, the Patriots' 6-foot-10 center, and Brian Frank added 19 points to lead the way for Buchholz. The Bobcats advance to play Bishop McNamara in Game 22 today at 5:15 p.m. American Heritage will play DeSoto County today at 12:30 p.m. in Game 19.
"It was a big game for us," Mayberry said. "We had a lot of motivation from our seniors, because this is their last year. So, I wanted to help them out and make this a successful year."
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm early in the game, only scoring a combined 10 points in the first quarter. The Bobcats led by as many as five in the second quarter, but Chris Uz scored three of his 12 points to tie the game at 15 going into halftime.
Vargas, who finished with just eight points, scored the first basket of the second half but Buchholz seized control of the game from that point. Matt Wise hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite 14-6 run and help the Bobcats take a 29-21 lead with 3:28 left in the third.
Buchholz quickly opened up a 10-point fourth quarter lead by scoring the first nine points. Mayberry said the Bobcats came in focused on stopping Vargas and Uz.
"We just did our best," he said. "It was very positive. Two years ago, we came in fifth place and last year we came in third. This year, we plan on coming in first."
Frank, who hit some key 3-pointers in the third quarter, said Buchholz has been inspired all season long by the success of the University of Florida men's basketball team.
"This is a big win for us, becuase American Heritage is a good team," he said
Erie Cathedral Prep 70, Western 45
Josh Licata scored a game-high 21 points to lift Erie Cathedral Prep to an easy win over Fort Lauderdale-Western on Thursday afternoon in a consolation game at the Naples Daily News Gulfshore Shootout.
The Ramblers move on to the consolation semifinals, where they will face Gulliver Prep this morning at 10:45 a.m. Western plays Barron Collier on Saturday at noon in a third-game guarantee for both squads.
The Ramblers were never threatened against Western, a 44-35 loser to Golden Gate on Wednesday. Consecutive three-pointers by Licata gave Erie Cathedral Prep a 17-7 lead after one quarter, and the Ramblers would maintain a double-digit lead throughout the rest of the contest.
Licata was the only Rambler in double figures, although thirteen players scored for the winners. Patrick Todd and Joey Gizzi paced the Wildcats with 14 and 12 points, respectively.