Playing at home before an enthusiastic crowd, the Marco Island Academy boys basketball team put up a fight against Community Christian of Port Charlotte on Tuesday night.
Community Christian jumped out to an early 8-0 lead before the Manta Rays could get going as the Academy lost the battle, 64-53.
Early outside shooting of Christian’s Mike Vivian, who netted four 3-pointers on the way to scoring 18 first-half points, kept them in front, ending the first half with a 37-30 lead.
The ‘Rays used Preston Reese’s 16 first-half points and three blocked shots, to keep the pressure on the Mustangs.
Second-half defensive adjustments shut down Vivian, who ended up with 23 points, but the bigger front line of the Mustangs became more of a factor.
Big man Michael Patten was a pain in the ‘Rays side all game, tossing in 19 points and grabbing a bushel of rebounds. Buddy Lugg added 13 points for the Mustangs
“Rays’ Reese continued his outstanding game and led the locals with 22 points, including 8-of-8 from the charity stripe. He blocked a total of five shots and altered many others. Derek Olmer tossed in 14 points, including two big treys from NBA range in the third period, but the Mustangs maintained their seven point lead.
Peter Servente and Alex Excell played well, scoring 8 and 7 points respectively. The ‘Rays short bench again haunted them as fatigue became a big factor in the final quarter. The ‘Rays used all five time outs in the second half trying to gain some rest. The ‘Rays had several steals, but did not have the physical strength to take advantage of the good defensive play.
It was a nice night of basketball for these young men and anyone who has seen them since the beginning knows they are improving. Patience and experience, along with adding players over time, will make a solid team. The ‘Rays next home game is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday against Donohue Academy from Ave Maria.
Marco Academy’s girls team had a rough time against an experienced Seacrest, losing 43-10. The girls did not shoot well, certainly not up to their standard. Sarah Hurtado is the senior leader for Seacrest. She plays in the pivot and is a very nice offensive player. The ‘Rays had no answer. She scored 33 points and dominated on the boards. She is less than 75 points from scoring 1,000 points in her career.
The Lady ‘Rays are at home at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, also against Donohue Academy.