Head coach Travis Barry and assistant coach Jim Watt coach the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Marco Island Academy. This hard–working pair love what they are doing and would probably never say which team is more fun to coach. But their smiles told the story Thursday night as they watched their scrappy girls team dispatch Everglades City, 57-22, at the Marco Island Charter Middle School gym.
Barry and Watt have shaped a team that, for the most part, struggled with basic dribbling skills a year ago, into the school’s first conference championship girls’ basketball team.
Add in Friday’s 50-25 win at Bonita Springs and Saturday’s 63-36 home win over Oasis, and the Rays are an impressive 14-2 for the season.
In the conference championship game, the Rays battled a pesky Everglades City team for a half before pulling away.
As the back-ups battled Everglades City in the second half, the Rays’ starters cheered on their back-ups with gusto, shouting out words of encouragement. Such is the story of the 2020-2021 Rays girls’ basketball team.
“We just came out with defensive intensity,” Travis Barry said of the team’s conference championship game. “I think we skunked them in the third quarter, and we were hoping that was the way it was going to go in the first quarter. I thought Everglades did a good job. That starting group has gotten a lot better. They have a great future.”
“That’s the first PCAC championship for our girls,” Barry continued. “The girls are amped up about that. They knew we had never won a championship before, so they played kind of tight at the beginning. Once they relaxed after halftime, everything came into place.”
Barry and Watt have to say goodbye to seniors Megan and Bridget Sweeney, who are twins. Their contributions will be missed.
“Megan is the leading rebounder in the state of Florida, second in the nation,” Barry said. “I’m sure she hung on to that tonight. Bridget is our defensive stopper. We put her on the other team’s ball handler. She’s got great fitness and stamina. She’s got such a kind, positive energy about her, ever since I met her. And Megan – it’s just so fun to have them around. Hopefully, they’re going to keep playing with us throughout the spring and summer.”