Lely head coach Fritz Jacques had his team playing its best basketball at the end of the season. But their best wasn’t quite good enough in a 54-52 loss to Barron Collier in the Cougars’ gym in the district semi-finals on Wednesday, February 10.
Lely completed and up-an-down season that saw the Trojans race to a 4-1 start, then endure a 5-game losing streak, before putting together a 6-1 streak prior to Wednesday’s season-ender.
The Lely team was despondent following the loss to Barron Collier, having left everything on the floor in a game that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
“The boys played hard,” Fritz Jacques said. “I’m proud of them for re-focusing after the second quarter and making it a game.”
Lely and Barron Collier (16-5) were tied at 19-19 at the end of the first quarter. But the Cougars took control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Trojans 13-3. But Jacques’ team would not die.
“It was getting away from us a little bit,” Jacques said. “We went into the locker room and made a slight adjustment. Not much. The game plan was there. We came back out re-focused, late in the third, and made it a game.”
The Trojans trimmed a 32-22 halftime lead to 40-36 by the end of the third quarter. They took their first lead at 43-42 with 5:53 left in the game. Eight lead changes later it was 52-50 Barron Collier with 1:46 left.
“We had a chance,” Jacques said. “That’s all we ask. Compete so we have a chance.”
The Trojans’ last hope fizzled when they tied up the Barron Collier ball handler with 7.4 seconds left in the game with the score 54-52. Alas, the possession arrow favored the Cougars, who ran out the clock on the ensuing possession.
Jacques had to say goodbye to a solid senior class led by JJ Dervil, who led all scorers with 17 points. Dervil is headed to New Mexico State on a football scholarship. Teammate and best friend Sergio Morancy, who is headed to Northern Iowa also on a football scholarship, scored six in his final game.
“It’s tough,” Jacques said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m proud of ‘em. I’m proud of how hard they work. They gave me everything. Sometimes in life, things don’t go your way. You just have to learn to keep fighting. My whole senior class, Sergio, JJ, Megenson Pierre has been amazing for us. He came out of nowhere and has been amazing for us. Loreandro Gabriel has been amazing for us. Schneider Natan, our defensive lock-up guy, has been awesome. Christian Poteau is our shooter—he spreads the floor out. And we’ve got a couple of players that don’t get a lot of minutes, but they bring the energy in practice—Bradley Chery and Stanley Hyppolite. My group of seniors, I really love ‘em and I’m going to miss ‘em. But they’ll always be family. They all know that.”
Lely (14-9) knocked off Golden Gate, 68-62, on February 9, at the Trojans’ gym in the opening game of the district playoffs to advance to the semi-final against Barron Collier.