When Lely hosted Cape Coral in a Class 5A regional quarterfinal on Thursday night, neither boys basketball team was ready to end its season.
Cape Coral controlled the tempo in the first half, but it was a little more Lely's game in the second as the Trojans eked out a 50-47 victory.
It wasn't over until Lely's Nick Ronquette made his seventh steal of the game, then made two foul shots with 0.8 seconds left that Trojans fans could celebrate. Cape Coral's prayer shot went well wide.
Lely (19-10) hosts Golden Gate at 7 p.m.on Tuesday in a regional semifinal. It is a rematch of the Class 5A-District 14 championship game a week ago, won by Lely.
The Lely gym was packed, with many fans wearing white, and that was about what their faces turned by the end of this bruising, aggressive game.
Cape Coral coach Tom Kenna felt he had the right game plan, and was greatly dejected at the end. Half bent over with emotion, Kenna said "The kids played hard, they thought they could win. I couldn't bring them home."
Lely coach Fritz Jacques credited the defense with the win.
"When we play good defense it is hard to be beaten by anyone," said Jacques, who was named the interim coach in January after Ryan Bowen resigned. "Cleafford Milien's job is to grab the rebounds and finish, He did that. Senior Nick Ronquette made the big plays on defense and key points in the game. He doesn't want his season to end."
Milien grabbed nine rebounds and scored 10 points. His forceful play took him to the foul line where he made 6 of 8.
Nick Talko came through in the second half, scoring 10 of his 16 points. Ronquette did not have a good shooting night, but finished with 10 points, including a steal for a basket with 8.4 seconds remaining.
Chase Galuzny led Cape Coral (10-19) with 15 points, while Andrew Taylor tallied 12 and David Flynn 10, with two three-point shots.
Cape Coral played stretches where it was content with keeping the ball from Lely. In the third quarter, with the score tied at 27, Cape Coral was content to dribble outside for nearly two minutes. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, it ended in a steal and basket by Ronquette.
Neither team shot well. Cape Coral was 19 of 38, making 3 of 9 three pointers. Lely was worse, hitting 18 of 46 shots and 0-of-13 from 3-point distance.
"We continue on our goal," Jacques said. "The team wanted to win a district championship. Now we set our goal for more."
* * *
LELY 50.CAPE CORAL 47
CAPE CORAL (47)
Boyd 2 1-1 5, Galuzny 6 3-3 15, Flynn 4 0-0 10, Mesard 2 0-0 4, Lewis 0 1-2 1, Taylor 5 1-2 12. Totals 19 6-8 47
Gober 2 2-2 6, Milien 2 6-8 10, Estilien 0 0-1 0, Greenidge 1 0-0 2, Ronquette 4 2-2 10, Dirogene 3 0-0 6, Talko 6 4-6 16. Totals 18 14-19 50.
3-pointers: CC — Flynn 2, Taylor 1. Total fouls: CC 13, Lely 15. Fouled out: Galuzny, Dirogene. Technicals: None