In tournament action that was not held in Fort Myers on Friday night, four teams competed in the eighth annual Mariner Boys Basketball Christmas tournament to determine who would play in the championship.
Port Charlotte defeated Estero in the first semifinal matchup 63-59 and Island Coast defeated the host school of the tournament, Mariner, 77-72 in the second. This sets up a Port Charlotte-Island Coast matchup in the championship game tonight.
In the first game of the doubleheader, junior Nicksen Blanc led the way for the Pirates with 16 points and teammate Kyle Collins scored 12. All of Collins points came from beyond the three point line.
For Estero, R.J. Myers scored a team-high 15 points with Shadrock Jean Francios and Margens Desire scoring 10 and 13 respectively. Coach Lee Peters of Estero was especially pleased with the team’s play and the performance of his three leading scorers from outside the arch.
“We haven’t had three players shoot the ball that well in one night from three,” Peters said. “I was pleased with our execution, effort and we shot the ball well; that was probably the best game we played all year.”
Coming into the second match-up, Mariner had defeated Island Coast in an overtime thriller just 10 days earlier with the Tritons coming into the tournament as a favorite. However, the Gators were able to return the favor this time around.
Shooting guard Kaleb Darrett led all scorers in the game with 32 points, which included 20 in the first half, and stole six from Mariner players. Additionally, Angel Inchausti scored 27 points and Sonel Mathurin grabbed 10 rebounds defensively to also stand out. For Mariner, Rodney Hunter scored 30 points and Rick Moore scored 21 as well.
Coach Greg Coleman of Island Coast was proud of his team for being able to maintain composure throughout after seeing many leads almost slip away.
“It seemed like the game was of many runs,” Coleman said. “We did a great job of sustaining their runs and firing back at them and not letting them gain control.”
Now, with tonight’s championship game set, Coleman is looking for his team to continue playing hard and limiting mistakes in order to pull out a victory against Port Charlotte.
“We’re not going to be able to match their size, but we make up with it because we are athletic,” he said. “Whoever plays the hardest and makes the least amount of mistakes should win the game.”