FORT MYERS, Fla. — Life in the consolation bracket at the City of Palms Classic is no walk on a white-sand beach.
Omaha Central, after its 52-49 loss Wednesday to Long Beach Poly, awaits the loser of the last quarterfinal to be played Thursday night.
The Eagles will face either tournament No. 1 seed Montverde (Fla.) Academy or a Chicago Whitney Young team that came to town without needing to play in the first round.
“It's not like it's going to get any easier. You're going to have a battle whoever it is on Friday,” Central coach Eric Behrens said.
It could be harder for Thursday night's loser to accept the loss and bounce back for a 4:15 p.m. CST consolation semifinal game than it will be for Central, which was assured of having Thursday as an off day when the tournament schedule was made.
“We came down to Florida to play,” Behrens said. “We're not going to come out here and hang our heads like it's a third-place game in the state tournament, which teams sometimes do.
“We're going to play to win and compete because we came a long way to be here.”
Poly's guards step up with timely 3s
Long Beach Poly's pride this season is its frontcourt duo, but their supporting cast was responsible Wednesday for the Jackrabbits' comeback after trailing by seven.
After missing all six attempts in the first half, the threesome of starters Ke'Jhan Feagin and Chris Sullivan and sub Kameron Murrell made four of their last seven attempts. Feagin had the one that finally dashed the Eagles' dreams of moving on to the semifinals, a high-arching, 22-foot fadeaway on an inbounds play with four seconds left.
“They were daggers,” Behrens said. “There was one they got that bounced up real high and dropped in, and obviously the one at the end. They definitely were some big-time shots.
“(Feagin) hits one, too, at the end of the third quarter. That's six points in a three-point loss. Take those two plays away and we win the game.”
Oregon-bound Bell has ringing blocks
Some of the blocked shots that Oregon recruit Jordan Bell made on Omaha Central weren't mere swats. On at least two of his eight Wednesday, the 6-foot-8 forward hit them with the force and trajectory of a volleyball spike. On top of the ball, straight down.
“He's tremendous. We tried to shot-fake and get Akoy (Agau) some looks,” Behrens said. “We did a better job in the second half because he jumps at everything. If you can fake him up, boost him up, then you can get some easier stuff.”
Around the tourney: Agau featured
» Agau was featured on the front page of Wednesday's Naples Daily News sports section. The headline? “Sudanese Sensation.”
» MaxPrep's No. 1 team, Long Peak from Utah, won its opener 60-42 over Jackson (Miss.) Callaway. That game was delayed because a rim broke during warmups for a professional dunk show that followed the Central-Poly game.
» Defending champion Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian, ravaged by injuries, lost its opener 82-44 to Memphis Southwind.
» Eagle's Landing, the Georgia team that lost 62-37 to Central in the first round, fell to 0-2 with an 81-72 consolation loss to instate foe Tifton Tift County.
» Dick Vitale is expected to attend some of Thursday's games. It would be the third consecutive year for a visit from the ESPN analyst.
— Stu Pospisil