In a game not for the faint of heart, Lely’s Nesly Olbrice put in Nick Talco’s missed shot at the buzzer to give Lely a wild, 57-55 win over Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
The game was full of mistakes, turnovers and key missed foul shots, but both teams made up with heart-stopping defenses when necessary and key baskets that kept the game in doubt to the end.
Lely had a five-point lead with two minutes to go, but Gulf Coast battled back to take a one-point lead, 56-55, with 40 seconds left.
The Trojans went looking for the last shot, but nearly turned the ball over. A poor pass led to a jump ball that went to Lely for an in bounds pass with 20 seconds left. Lely proceeded to throw the ball away, giving the supposed last shot to Gulf Coast.
Lely coach Ryan Bowen surprised Gulf Coast with a pressure zone defense, forcing Gulf Coast to the outside for a perimeter shot. The Sharks took the clock down to nine seconds then called a time out.
Everyone in the packed gym knew the ball would go to Davidson Neptune, who had 19 points and a very good ballhandler. Again Lely put on the pressure zone, forcing Neptune far from the basket. In his anxiety to score he traveled.
It was Lely’s ball with 5.3 seconds left. Talco maneuvered for a shot, but the Gulf Coast defense forced him into an errant attempt. However, Olbrice was under the basket for the game winner.
Usually a man of few words, coach Bowen was jubilant.
“This game was a tribute to the Lely players, having to fight through adversity,” he said. “They never gave up, they stuck together and to the game plan.”
Both teams had 20 turnovers and rebounding was difficult at times for both. Both had 11 points on second-shot put backs off the boards.
“The game was sloppy at times, both team had opportunities that they let slip away,” Bowen said.
He credited the “sixth man,” the Lely crowd. “They were fantastic, it was like going back to the old Lely crowds,” he said.
Bowen also recalled a fantastic finish when he was an assistant coach with Golden Gate. In 2005 Evan Taylor sank a shot at the buzzer for a Trojan victory.
Ironically, it was a Lely player who scored the winning basket, but this time Bowen was on the winning side.
“It was nice to be on the winning team in front of the Lely faithful,” he said.
Marco’s Wesley Lancaster led Lely in scoring with 19 points, while Talco chipped in 12. At the foul line both teams had problems. Lely made 15 of 27, while Gulf Coast was 14 of 25.
The Lely girls were not as fortunate, losing for the second time in four days to Gulf Coast, 50-25.
In soccer the boys edged Riverdale, 3-1, while the girls came back from a three-goal deficit to tie their game with Riverdale, 3-3.
Jose Almarez assisted on all the goals by Ricthy Absolu, Sergio Alfaro and Miguel Arroyo.
“We got to see the true character of the team. We played against a great team,” coach Rob Schank said. Lely is 5-1-2 on the season.
Jessica Andrade scored twice and Jordin Giles once to cause the tie.
A Jennifer Carter pass led to the first score. Jordin Giles scored off a pass from her sister, Justine. The tying goal by Andrade was a 35-yard “lightning bolt,” coach Tony Smith said. “It was like a religious experience, I swear I levitated when the ball went in,” he jokingly said.
Frankie Archaki saved the tie when she blocked a penalty kick with little time remaining.
Smith also credited Catherine Ramaks and Jenna Lundquist of also having solid games. Lely is now 5-3-1 on the season.
See basketball photo gallery online, marconews.com.