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North boys advance to Black bracket title game in Sunshine Showdown

By Staff | Dec 28, 2019

The North Fort Myers Red Knights have a chance to do something that hasn’t happened in quite a while in boys basketball.

With a win against Moore Haven today, North (3-7) will win the Black bracket of the Southwest Florida Sunshine Showdown behind held on the Red Knights’ home court.

North advanced to the bracket championship with a 66-61 win against East Lee County (2-7).

Moore Haven defeated Island Coast on Friday.

“They’re all still learning how to play basketball, still learning how things need to be done,” North Fort Myers coach Leland Clifford said. “We’re winning games now and they’re starting to understand what our offense can do.

“Not a lot of teams get a chance to play for a trophy, and here we are in December in our home gym, playing for that chance. My AD (athletic director Joe Bowen) said we’re the first (North) team in five years to win consecutive home games.

“I know where we were when I started. These seniors are starting to dig our way out of it.”

One of those seniors, guard Jeff Krum, poured in 30 points for the Red Knights, including North Fort Myers’ final six points that turned a 61-60 deficit into the 66-61 victory. The last four came when Krum hit both ends of a pair of 1-and-1 situations at the free-throw line.

“We’re learning how to run an offense, and at the very end we had to run an offense and we did it,” Clifford said.

East Lee County’s Caleb Munnings kept the Jaguars close with 28 points, including four 3-point baskets.

Munnings’ 3-pointer with 1:56 to play gave East Lee County its final lead at 61-60.

“We went full deny on him in the last two minutes,” Clifford said of Munnings. “We wouldn’t let him catch the ball. We let anyone else bring it up.”

Ida Baker 57, LaBelle 54: Ida Baker held off LaBelle in a nip-and-tuck contest.

The Bulldogs (6-3) will face either Immokalee or Gateway Charter at 4 p.m. today for fifth place in the Red bracket of the Southwest Florida Sunshine Showdown.

“LaBelle’s a very scrappy, scrappy team,” Bulldogs’ coach Todd Stowe said.

“I was happy with our free-throw shooting down the stretch. We were not a good free-throw shooting team. Down the stretch, we hit them when we had to.”

LaBelle (1-8) got 30 points from Jason Branch.

“We just didn’t have an answer for number 11 (Branch),” Stowe said.

The game was tight throughout, tied at the half and 40-all through three periods.

Ida Baker opened up a 48-40 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, only to see the Cowboys cut the margin to 55-54 on Francis Gillick’s hoop and free throw with nine seconds to play.

Joe Cecil’s two free throws with seven seconds left provided the margin of victory.

Cecil scored 15 points and Bryce Donnelly 12 for the Bulldogs.

“We did a much better job taking care of the ball in the second half,” Stowe said. “In the first half, they killed us with turnovers.”

Moore Haven 56, Island Coast 53: After digging themselves a deep hole, the Gators nearly pulled off the comeback victory in the Black bracket of the Southwest Florida Sunshine Showdown.

The Terriers (5-5) raced out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter, then barely held off a Gators (1-9) team that was within two points, 52-50, with just under a minute to play.

“We thawed out before the end of the first half,” Island Coast coach Randy McCoy said. “We came back out and showed some courage.

“We’ve just got a long way to go. We’re minus a couple of kids right now. It’s still a process, and we’ve got a lot to learn. If we keep working we’ll get there.”

Najae Cook scored 16 points to lead Island Coast, including hitting on four 3-pointers. Alex Padilla scored 13. LJ Sampson of Moore Haven led all scorers with 23 points, and Kelton Hallback added 13 for the Terriers.

“I can live with efforts like this,” McCoy said. “My goodness, what an effort. A free throw here or — we were right there. If we got the lead, who knows? I’m proud of what we did.”

Island Coast faces East Lee County at 11:30 a.m. today.

Ryon D. Provencher Holiday Shootout

At Lemon Bay High School

Port Charlotte Community Christian 60, Oasis 36: The Sharks remain in search of their first victory after a close loss in the Holiday Shootout. Oasis (0-7) faces North Port in another tournament game Saturday.

Mariner 80, Lemon Bay 62: Mariner improves to 9-2 with a victory against the host school of the Provencher tournament. The Tritons play Arcadia Desoto County today in the tournament.

Village Christian Holiday Classic

At Fayetteville, NC

Sharpstown (TX) 90, Cape Coral 66: Kdyn Waters scored 27 points and had five rebounds for Cape Coral, while Jamie O’Connor had 18 points and five assists. The Seahawks (2-5) face host school Fayetteville (NC) Village Christian today.

Girls basketball

Tampa Bay Invitational

Mount Washington (Ky) Bullitt East 55, Bishop Verot 33: The Vikings are 2-8 after Friday’s tournament defeat at the hands of Bullitt East (5-1) in the Siesta Key bracket. Addison Potts scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds for the Vikings. Catie Reszel scored 10. Bishop Verot has a consolation bracket game this morning against either Houston (Texas) St. Agnes or Tampa Jefferson.

Boys soccer

Mike Stone Invitational

at Tavares

Mariner 4, Jacksonville Bishop Kenny 1: Leo Perez scored twice for the Tritons, and Jason Arias and Marcos Grimado also had goals.

Chicago St. Ignatius College Prep 2, Mariner 1: The Tritons suffered their first loss of the season (13-1-1). Eddie Reyes scored the Mariner goal. Both St. Ignatius goals came on penalty kicks. Mariner faces Spruce Creek for third place on Saturday.