Lely’s 58-45 home win over Cape Coral Thursday night was just what the doctor ordered. It didn’t come easy; with the visitors holding an edge through the first half and keeping the pressure on through much of the second half. Ending a five-game losing skid is never easy. On this evening, however, the Trojans were determined to do whatever it took to flip the script.
Lely started the season 4-1 before starting their five-game slide. With each loss, the pressure mounted on the players and their coach; it affected them.
“Yes,” Lely Coach Fritz Jacques admitted, “it’s adversity. You’ve got to remember; in life, you’re going to have adversity. It’s a part of life. We’re trying to build good people. Good men. A little adversity. I’m proud of them for finding a way tonight, even though it wasn’t pretty.”
Cape Coral (4-7) was beating Lely (5-6) at their own game with a hounding defense that forced the Trojans into numerous turnovers in the first half. They stretched an 11-9 first–quarter lead into a 15-9 lead with 6:07 left in the first half before Lely started to battle back.
Part of the Trojans’ problem can be attributed to one of their senior leaders picking up two fouls in the early minutes of the game. After sitting out much of the first half and second half, Sergio Morancy quickly fouled out when he returned to the court in the fourth quarter. The gifted 6’4″ center has a history of foul trouble. Jacques is trying to make Morancy realize that as a team leader he needs to be on the court.
“You’ve got to remember Sergio has been getting into foul trouble for a long time,” Jacques said. “In his role last year, he was able to do that. He’s got to understand this year, it’s got to change a little bit. He’ll get better. We’ll coach him up a little bit and he’ll get better. It hurts not having him in there. He’s a big impact-plus.”
Even with Morancy on the bench, the Trojans were able to battle back and tie the score at 18-18 with 1:03 left in the half and took a slim 21-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third quarter saw the teams battling neck-and-neck, with the Trojans managing small leads, only to be tied at 33-33 with 1:25 left and again at 35-35 with a minute left in the third period.
However, the Seahawks started to fade as the fourth quarter wore on, and the pressure from the Trojans’ deep bench started to take its toll. After two key Seahawks fouled out near the end, the Trojans poured it on, making the final score look more lopsided than it should have.
Seniors JJ Dervil and Megenson Pierre led the Trojans in scoring with 16 points each. Sophomores Mark Belizaire and Dave Louidor had 9 and 7 points, respectively. Ryan Acuff led Cape Coral with 14 points.
“They tried to execute the game plan,” Jacques said of his team. “But at the same time, we’re got to clean some stuff up. They gave me 100% effort, and that’s all that I can ask for.”
“It definitely was a hard-fought game,” said Roger Ebbert, Cape Coral Head Coach. “Honestly, they have a deep bench. They’re a pretty athletic team. Long story short, they have the numbers, we don’t. We don’t have a very deep team this year. We’re a growing program. Just from two games ago, we look like a completely different team. Our kids are learning—and that’s all that we can ask of them. They worked their tails off tonight. The effort was there. A couple of bad things happened tonight down the stretch. A couple of players fouled out. A couple of starters went out early.”
The victory felt good for Jacques and his team as they head into the second half of their schedule, which doesn’t get any easier as they face Mariner (7-4) and Community School (14–1). The coach and players celebrated in the locker room.
“It feels great,” Jacques said, “getting that monkey off our back. Now we can get back on track to where we need to be.”