What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Marco Island Academy girls’ basketball team struggled through a 0-20 season. So far this season, they’re 3-2, with their latest win a 66-1 dismantling of New Life Academy at the Marco Middle School gym on Friday evening.
The truth is that the MIA girls aren’t as good as the score may indicate, and New Life Academy is a very green contingent, but the visitors gave their all for four quarters, and the home team had to make their shots and hustle on defense to come away with such a one-sided victory.
“I couldn’t be happier with the program,” said Rays head coach Travis Barry. “I thought the girls shared the ball. I got a chance to play our second line girls more. Girls that couldn’t dribble the ball in a game are now dribbling down the floor fully. I thought they passed the ball great. They were unselfish. I’m really proud of them.”
New Life Academy scored their only point with 5:18 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 44-1. The crowd gave Tajazmine Taylor an enthusiastic round of applause as the third of her free throw attempts fell through the net.
The Rays played good defense as New Life consistently struggled to get the ball much further than half court.
Offensively, the Rays were led by Megan Sweeney, who scored 24 points, 18 of them coming in the first half. Kathryn Barry, a freshman and the coach’s daughter scored 12. Barry also does a lot of the ball-handling for the Rays. Camryn Rose scored 10 first-half points for MIA.
Seven Rays scored in the game, which was played with a running clock in the second half.
The girls will be back in action when they take part in the D5 Alive tournament in Vero Beach, December 26-28. They’ll return home on January 7 against Donahue Catholic.c