Regular season basketball champions crowned

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Mikayla Kane scores for Duncn Real Estate in its Division III
playoff game against LPAC Saturday, March 8.

The regular basketball season at AMICC has ended and it was a successful outing for a number of teams and not necessarily just the division champs. If basketball is your sport as a spectator you will not have been disappointed. There have been many emotions over the past weeks, conveyed in these pages and seen in the brand new gym. For the coaches there have been highs and lows, as you would expect. They have also taken positives and have had chances to question their ability and to pat themselves on the back. The players walk away with a new skill set, one that they will hone on driveways and quiet streets and then bring back again, better, next year. It’s now on to the playoffs.

March 3
Division III
Coastal Orthopedic 22 - Duncan Real Estate 15

Duncan's first loss of the season came at the hands of a Coastal side that has really turned its fortunes around of late. Duncan was without Mikayla Kane and Chase Lewis was again restricted but did make up for it later in the game, finishing on 10 points. Lauren Sapienza, a powerhouse for Duncan all season, contributed with five points but it was a consistent team effort from Coastal that won the day. Mikey Ellsworth top scored with eight points, six each for Tyler and Alexia Yavalar with two in from Kia Kern.

Premier League
Island Real Estate 45 - Rotten Ralph’s 44

All season long Rotten Ralph’s has played with flair and a drive that its opponents have found difficult to match at times. This was one of those times and Island Real was lucky to come out on top in this ultra close encounter. Ralph’s Joe Karasiewicz was on fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his 19 point total and Olivia Moore also came alive late in the game scoring eight points. It was a solid effort and a 15-point contribution from Celia Ware and Cory Stickler before both fouled out and Daniel Janisch had two. Off to a sluggish start with only 12 points scored by halftime, Island Real Estate worked it out in the third, and free throw specialist Jamison Urch hit six from 10 going on to score a massive 26 points. An impressive Amanda Burnett had 16 total with 14 coming in the second half and Nash Thompson had three. Island Real looked ahead and breathed a sigh of relief.

March 4
Division I
Island Lumber 32 - Air and Energy 17

A must win game for Island Lumber as it pushed hard to secure top spot in this division, it was a five-strong squad with two players out that took the game to a competent Air and Energy. Joey Garbus scored 10, Becca Butler finished on nine and there were points in from the remaining players, Zach Guerin, Chris Pate and Geoff Pinter. In its defense, Air and Energy outscored its opponents in the second half, but took too long to get it going with a deficit of 16 points at halftime. Justin Gargett posted 11 and Daniel Pimentel rounded out the scoring for A &E with six points. They may have lost the game but the team still has the edge.

March 5
Division II
Dips Ice Cream 14 - Jessie’s Island Store 10

Jessie’s wanted to mix it up here against regular season Champs Dips Ice Cream. Dips was without points master Daniel Schroaeder and was missing another player, allowing no subs in a game that saw Blaine Jenefsky foul out in the fourth. Jessie’s matched Dips point for point in the second half and it was a strong team effort with points in from Caitlyn Stark, Jacque Lynn "Bob" Armer and Jake Parsons. Early baskets from Johnny Mattay and Blaine Jenefsky won the game for Dips and while Dips Ice Cream is easy to lick, the team isn’t!

Premier League
West Coast Air 53 - Connect Cycles 46

West Coast Air Coach Koszewski has had his moments of calm at times throughout this season, but also coaches with a level of intensity, needed in this division, that he used to push his team to the top. Connect Cycles wanted to take advantage as West Coast was missing two of its star players. Kyle Aritt, awesome for Connect this season, was busy throughout and scored 21 points, Tommy Price squeaked in two early points but saved himself for the latter stages and eventually posted 18. Erin Dolan, Zach Evans and Brandon Gengler were all on the score sheet for Connect Cycles. In reply for West Coast was team Bauer scoring 30 points, nine from Whitney and 21 from Matt, Michael Kirby got busy and offered up 17 with a steady Forrest Schield on six. Without any subs to call on this was an excellent effort from regular season champs West Coast Air.

March 6
Division I
Air and Energy 43 - A Paradise Realty 32

This was a battle between teams fighting for third place honors in a hotly contested division. Air and Energy was missing three players and did anyone say flu virus? A Paradise also was down and neither team had subs on the bench. The players left on court did not disappoint and it was another match-up that saw the losing team outscore the eventual winners in the second half. Early bird A & E was in it from the start and powered to half time, up by 12 points. It was energy and effort by Justin Gargett with 17 and Daniel Pimentel on 14 that kept A & E ahead, even though A Paradise, with 20 big points coming from Trevor Bystrom, had a strong finish.

Division I
Island Lumber 41 - AMI Sun 18

The battle for first place in this division was on here as AMI Sun looked to secure its lead and Island Lumber wanted to steal some thunder. Both teams have had very successful seasons under their leadership and coaches involved will be pleased with the effort in this, as mentioned earlier, hotly contested division. This week, more than a couple of teams have started strong by tearing out of the gate and never looking back. Island Lumber was one of those teams, creating a 12-point deficit by the end of the first quarter. AMI Sun employed a full court press early in the game to force a slowdown that saw the deficit decrease by two points at halftime. Although AMI Sun stopped the rot using a good tactical approach, it failed to offer anything but two points in the second half and this cost it the game against an Island Lumber outfit that posted 15 in the second half by way of Becca Butler, Zach Guerin, Dayle Hoffman and Chris Pate. Notable for AMI Sun was Connor Field with six, Chris Hightower and Patrick Edwards with four each and two each for Julian Botero and Christian Diaz.

March 7
Division 1
AMI Sun 28 - A Paradise Realty 23

With the loss to Island Lumber, AMI Sun was back in action just 24 hours later, now knowing it had to beat A Paradise to be proclaimed regular season co-champions with Island Lumber. A Paradise was not a team to sit back and let it happen on this night and it stayed in contention through to halftime. AMI Sun mixed it up in the latter stages of the game and, although the score remained close, it had enough to win it and claim its prize. For A Paradise, Taylor Wilson top scored with nine and Savannah Schield followed one point behind with eight. Kayla Armer had four and Jack Titsworth with two rounded out the scoring. Notable for AMI Sun was Julian Botero who finished with 14, Patrick Edwards had six points and it was four each for Connor Field and Chris Hightower.

Premier League
West Coast Air 68 - Island Real Estate 63

When I first saw the score sheets from this game, all I could think was Wake Forest 78, N.C. State 67, a final score from last Saturday’s college hoops. I know sometimes, teams at AMICC post big scores during the season, but this was incredible. Island Real Estate couldn’t catch West Coast at this stage but it did want to put a huge exclamation mark over its season. It nearly did just that. Ahead by eight points at halftime, Island Real Estate was led by Christina Natali, who was hitting three pointers as if they were going out of fashion. She eventually finished with 26 points, while teammate Amanda Burnett got in stride early and went on to post 28. IRE looked like a team intent on proving a point, but it didn’t reckon on Matt Bauer, consistent throughout, scoring 19, and Michael Kirby, who came alive after the half and dropped in 27 points. Forrest Schield was another notable for a West Coast side that finished the season strong after already being crowned division champions.

Premier League
Connect Cycles 46 - Rotten Ralph’s 28

If you look at the statistics you would think that Rotten Ralph’s was undone in this division and that’s really not the case. The likes of Joe Karasiewicz, Celia Ware, Cory Stickler, Katie Hunt and Lauren Hightower would tell you of the team spirit that runs throughout, the commitment showed when everything seemed a lost cause and I could tell you about the outstanding plays, drive and determination I have personally seen. Rotten Ralph’s was a good team to be on this season, and while statistics can’t say that, I can. Connect Cycles, under the leadership of Coach Nelson, was a very stable outfit with some good strong players. Tommy Price, solid throughout the season, was leading scorer with 13 points, Kyle Aritt posted a respectable 11 and 10 points came from Zach Evans.

Playoff Action Starts in Division III

Third placed Coastal Orthopedic took on a second placed Ross Built early Saturday morning at AMICC. Ross looked strong with Jake Ross finishing the game with 15 points. Chris Adkins, Madison Gsell, Andrew Ross and Luke Valadie all found the basket as Ross Built took this game 24-0 and will progress to the next round where they will face regular season champs, Duncan Real Estate. Duncan took on fourth place finishers LPAC in the other game and was tested by Coach Starks’ team going into halftime. Lauren Sapienza and Mikayla Kane showed us why Duncan finished on top of the division by scoring all 16 of the teams’ points, making the final score 16-9. So it’s Ross Built vs. Duncan Real Estate in the Division III playoff Tuesday, March 11.

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