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North boys win Black Bracket in Sunshine Showdown

By Staff | Dec 29, 2019

This might have been the step forward North Fort Myers High boys basketball has been needing.

The Red Knights won the Black Bracket of the Southwest Florida Sunshine Showdown on Saturday with a 64-54 comeback victory against Moore Haven.

Three wins in three days, and four wins in their last five games, could get the ball rolling for the Red Knights.

While it wasn’t the strongest of competition — 1-10 Island Coast, 3-7 East Lee County and 5-6 Moore Haven — it was a confidence-building weekend for a 4-7 North squad.

“We’ve got one game with Community Christian at Lehigh (Jan. 2) and come right back with Island Coast, a team that we handled (on Thursday) and then we have Cape, a team that we feel we let off the hook,” in the first meeting, North coach Leland Clifford said.

Clifford then had to laugh. His team started off the court without their first-place trophy.

“They forgot it,” Clifford said. “Apparently they’re not accustomed to winning trophies. They just left it there. I thought about just taking it home.”

Bracket MVP Jeffrey Kromm poured in 41 points to propel North, a performance coming on the heels of a 30-point game Friday and 29 in Thursday’s opener. Kromm scored 23 of his points in the second half Saturday — including hitting his last 10 free throws — as North took control of the contest.

“Without him and Artavius (Weaver), we don’t go far,” Clifford said.

Moore Haven jumped out to an early lead, holding a 19-12 advantage after one quarter. North trimmed the margin to 34-31 by halftime.

The third quarter was dominated by the Red Knights. Kromm tied the game with a 3-pointer and Weaver gave North its first lead with a putback basket to make it 36-34. Moore Haven would tie it at 36, and then the Red Knights took complete control.

Neil Welch’s 3-pointer gave North the lead for good, and the Red Knights were on the way to a 53-44 advantage by the time the third quarter ended. Tempers were on edge for a bit, with a technical foul called on the Terriers.

For the fourth quarter, Clifford called for a stall. For nearly the entire final eight minutes, the Red Knights passed, and passed, and passed, waiting for a foul to be called. The Terriers were unable to stop the delay tactic, and North ticked away the time for the victory.

“We managed to compose,” Clifford said. “We managed to really run the offense. We call it ‘Duke,’ and ‘Duke’ stands for delay. Once we get into that, our guys are starting to believe that if we’re up 10 and there’s four minutes left, we’ve won the game.”

Kelton Hallback scored 17 points and LJ Sampson 13 for the Terriers.

Immokalee 86, Ida Baker 80: The Bulldogs led by nine going into the final period, but Immokalee (4-9) put 32 points on the board in the fourth quarter to drop Ida Baker to 6-4. Baker will get a chance to make amends on Jan. 2 when they face Immokalee again in the New Year’s Shootout at Lehigh Senior High School.

East Lee County 67, Island Coast 62: The Gators (1-10) finished fourth in the Black Bracket. Island Coast held a 29-27 lead at intermission. Caleb Munnings and Dayron Delgado scored 19 each for the Jaguars (3-7).

Other scores: Gateway Charter 64, LaBelle 44; South Fort Myers 47, Estero 40; and Barron Collier 49, Gulf Coast 35 in the championsihp of the Red Bracket.

Ryon D. Provencher Holiday Shootout

At Lemon Bay High School

Mariner 96, Arcadia Desoto County 77: Mariner improved to 10-2 on the year behind 32 points from Dsean Archilles. The Tritons also got 15 points from Amari Martin and 13 each from Preston Ebanks and Derrick Purdy. Mariner takes on Seacrest Country Day on Jan. 2 at Lehigh in the New Year’s Shootout.

North Port 55, Oasis 38: North Port (2-8) dropped the Sharks to 0-8. Oasis faces Cape Coral on Jan. 2 in the New Year’s Shootout at Lehigh.

Village Christian Academy Holiday Tournament

At Fayetteville, N.C.

Fayetteville Village Christian Academy 90, Cape Coral 54: The Seahawks dropped to 2-6 with a loss to tournament host Village Christian (10-2). Cape faces Oasis on Jan. 2 in the New Year’s Shootout at Lehigh.

Girls basketball

Tampa Bay Christmas Invitational

Houston (TX) St. Agnes Academy 63, Bishop Verot 36: Catie Reszel scored 17 points and Addison Potts had 14 points and 8 rebounds for the Vikings (2-9). Bishiop Verot next travels to the Atlanta She Got Game Shootout, starting with a Jan. 3 contest with Mabelton (GA) Pebblebrook.

Boys soccer

Mike Stone Invitational

at Tavares

Mariner 2, Port Orange Spruce Creek 0: The Tritons (14-1-1) finished third in their bracket of the Mike Stone Invitational with a shutout victory on Saturday. Eddie Reyes and Leo Perez scored first-half goals for Mariner, and the defense made the lead stand up. Spruce Creek, which came into Friday undefeated as had Mariner, lost its second in a row to stand at 10-2-3.