Hosting a team that is like their mirror image, Lely couldn’t overcome a fast start by Dunbar, falling 69-62 in a fast-paced game Friday night.
“They’re athletic, just like we are,” said Lely Head Coach Fritz Jacques. They’re super-athletic. They can jump like we can jump. They’re big like we are big. They’ve got a crazy-good point guard who is going to Florida Southern. He showed that in the second half. He helped them keep the lead.”
Dunbar point guard Caleb Jones connected for 24 points—including 12 in the fourth quarter, to keep Lely at bay down the stretch. Jones’ big night offset a spectacular night by Lely star JJ Dervil, who connected for a game-high 30 points. Dervil scored 13 points in the fourth quarter while trying to will the Trojans to a win.
Jacques thought his Trojans were lackluster in the first half, coming off a 58-34 over Gulf Coast the night before. “I feel like in the first half we didn’t bring any energy,” Jacques said. “We didn’t play defense like Lely plays defense. When you play back-to-back games, you’ve got to bring it both nights.”
Dunbar led 37-25 at halftime and were threatening to blow the game open with 2:38 left in the third quarter when they went up by 16, 43-27. However, Lely tightened the screws on the defensive end in the fourth quarter and made several runs at the Tigers.
With 6:08 left, Lely had pared the lead to 52-46. When Dunbar started to pull away again, the Trojans fought back to 59-52 with 3:39 left.
Dunbar was up by 13, 65-52, with 2:03 left, but the Trojans had one last run in them. With 8.6 seconds left, the Trojans closed to within six at 68-62. However, it turned out Lely’s 27-point fourth quarter was too little, too late.
“The positive is that the fourth quarter was our best quarter,” Jacques said. “When we play defense, we’re a very good team. When we don’t, we’re so-so.”
The loss drops Lely to 4-2. Dunbar improves to 3-1. The Trojans host Mariner Thursday night and Golden Gate Friday.