Dramatic comeback wins at home are becoming old hat for this year’s Marco Island Academy basketball team.
After making an improbable comeback last week to nip Seacrest, the Marco boys did it again Monday night, making up a 13-point deficit to defeat Canterbury 64-62 in front of a lively crowd.
“You can’t keep living off this,” Rays coach Roger Raymond said after leading his team to its second big comeback win in as many home games. “That being said, we didn’t give up. They played their butts off. This is a game we had to win. For the last four minutes we played awfully well. That’s twice they’ve come back when it looked like all was dark.”
The Rays play two of the best teams in the area Tuesday and Wednesday when they host Community School and St. John Neumann.
The Rays host local power Community School Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Neumann at the same time Wednesday.
“Community School is one of the best schools in the state,” Raymond said, “and Neumann has a 7-foot-tall center.”
Just like last week’s home game against Seacrest, the Rays were consistently eight to 13 points behind for much of the game only to catch fire at the end.
Brian Flynn helped to start Monday’s rally when he hit a layup to make it 54-60 with 3:13 left in the game. Then Brandon Estremera hit a three pointer from deep in the corner with 2:35 left to close the gap to 57-60.
Then Canterbury reacted to the Rays pressure and turned the ball over at the 2:22 mark. Marco’s Cole Stretton made a driving layup to make it 59-60.
The Academy made another steal and Stretton was fouled driving to the basket. He converted both free throws and the Rays found themselves ahead 61-60 with 39.1 seconds left.
Tyler Greshman then grabbed a key rebound on the defensive end of the court and converted a layup in the final seconds of the game to seal the Rays win.
“These kind of wins are great for the crowd,” Raymond said, “but they’re hard on a 64-year-old coach.”
Stretton led the Rays with 25 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and eight steals. Gresham had 18 and grabbed nine rebounds. Estremera had 12 points, with three of his shots coming from behind the three point line.