Marco Island Academy head coach Travis Barry knew he was filling his teams plate to overflowing, scheduling four games for his boys team this week.
But the overall results had to please the coach, who saw his team improve to 11-5, winning at Donahue Catholic on Monday (67-43), at home against Everglades City on Tuesday (79-43), and at Mason Classical on Thursday (72-28). The toughest test of the four games came on Saturday, when his team fought gamely, trailing 28-27 with 21 seconds in the first half, before bowing to host Seacrest, 81-60.
The Rays’ starters traded punches with Seacrest throughout the first half. But while MIA was relying on a six-man rotation, Seacrest coach William Carufe was trading out his entire starting lineup throughout the game. The Rays appeared to hit the wall in the third quarter when they failed to score until senior Kyler Howard hit a three-pointer with just 1:57 left in the quarter. By then Seacrest had scored 24 unanswered points.
“I thought we had a bad third quarter,” Travis Barry said. “We were in the game, but we lost it in the third quarter. I thought our guys played hard. I don’t have a deep enough bench. I don’t like to say that because my bench tries like crazy. But they’re just young.”
The Rays were outscored 31-3 in the third quarter before rebounding to outscore Seacrest 30-19 in the fourth quarter. But it was too little, too late for Marco.
Barry knew his players were tiring. He especially noticed the effect on his son Kevin, the team’s leading scorer, at 26 points-per-game.
“Kevin’s face was purple,” Barry said. “I’m proud of my guys. I like to play schools like this, recruited schools, because I can get my guys faster for the next game. I thought all-in-all they stuck together. Didn’t get mad at each other. Played pretty good.”
Seacrest, a Class 2A school like MIA, improves to 11-5, with wins over big-school programs Golden Gate, Gulf Coast, Immokalee, Cypress Lake and Estero.
Kevin Barry was the leading scorer for the Rays with 28 points, of which four were three-pointers. He had 16 points in the fourth quarter alone. Joe Reisinger was the only other Ray in double figures, with 12 points. Seacrest was paced by Sammy Townsend with 26 points and Matt Riley with 20.
MIA travels to Village School of Naples on Tuesday, January 19 and will host Cypress Lake on Friday.