The Lely Trojans opened its season with a convincing win over Palmetto Ridge on Monday night.
The Trojans are trying to build on its second-place finish in District 5A-14 a year ago.
"Mr. Smooth." Nick Talko, quietly scored 27 points to lead the team in its 55-38 victory.
Talko lets the game come to him. The junior, in his third year on varsity, was All-Area a year ago and looks to be the mainstay of a team that has very good potential.
Against Palmetto Ridge the big boys, Cleafford Millien, a junior and LJ Greenidge, a senior, controlled the boards. Point guards Nick Ronquette, a senior, and sophomore Zach Gober distributed the ball and played solid defense.
"We are still phasing in our football players into our system and have a lot of improving to do," coach Ryan Bowen said. "We are stressing the little things that happen in a game and trying to limit our mental mistakes. I am encouraged with what I saw in preseason and our first game."
Karbiel Dirogene, a junior, is a football player getting his basketball legs underneath him. He was strong on defense and will become a force on offense.
The next game is at home, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, against rival Naples.
A major competition the Trojans will play in is the Coaches vs. Cancer Holiday Tournament in Elmira N.Y., Dec. 27-30. The Trojans open with Williamsport, Pa., at 5 p.m. on Dec. 27, in the National Division.
Bowen, in his fourth season, considers the tournament a great opportunity.
" I did grow up in the area and my parents will be hosting our team for a dinner at our family's restaurant," he said. "I think it is important for guys to see another part of the country. Also, there are a lot of colleges in that area I have connections with that will be there watching our guys."
The players are selling banners and coupon books to raise funds for the trip. The banners and books will be available at Lely home games. For monetary donations checks can be made out to the Trojans Basketball Club, 1 Lely High School Boulevard, Naples, FL 34113. There is also a donation form available at firstname.lastname@example.org.