When Marco Island Academy welcomed winless Oasis Charter to their home gym, they probably never thought they’d be on the short end of a 36-33 halftime score. However, a halftime coaching adjustment and a spirited second–half effort left the Rays on the good end of a 78-66 final score Thursday night at the Marco Island Charter Middle School gym.
“I think that I learned that we play pretty good man-to-man defense,” said Travis Barry, Rays Head Coach. “We trapped and we pressed the whole first half. And we lost the first half. When we played our hardcore man-to-man defense, we beat them. They played us man, and we played them man, and we came out on top. It tells me something about next time we play them.”
Senior Johnny Watt got the Rays started in the second half by hitting a three–pointer and a couple of two–pointers. Watt finished with 13 points after scoring just four in the first half.
“With Johnny, I always know I’m going to get 100% energy,” Barry said. “Things may not always go his way—he might have gotten a little cold there, but I know that at the end of the game he’s going to bring down those two crucial rebounds. We were in the huddle and I said, ‘I want to know who’s going to get the next rebound. This is going to be our most important rebound.’ He not only got that one, he got two. He got that one and the next one, too.”
After a quiet first half, junior Joe Reisinger was a sparkplug for the Rays in the second half, exploding for 14 points—with nine coming in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a whole different player than last season,” Barry said of Reisinger. “He has become one of our core starters. His energy is contagious. You’ll see three or four Oasis players—with size—down there, and he’ll come out with the ball. He’s tough as nails, and he’s got the heart of a lion. He brings a spirit and energy to this team, and now he’s not playing so desperate. He’s playing like a core player. I keep seeing him get better and better. We have senior leadership right now. I’m looking to supplement that. I have five juniors on this team. I’m looking for who’s going to step up and be that senior leader for next year. He’s stepping into those shoes nicely.”
Barry also had a good word for his son, Kevin Barry, who led all scorers with 32 points, with four three-pointers. He was 8-8 from the free–throw line.
“I know what I’m going to get from Kevin every night,” Barry said. “Good shooting. You know he’s going to knock a couple down. Kevin came out and lit ‘em up a little in the third quarter. He gets fired up and I can tell when he’s ready to score. He’s worked on his jump shot all summer long.”
Barry, who also coaches the girls’ team, enjoyed two wins Thursday night. “I’m going to go home smiling tonight,” he said with a smile.