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Strong field for Mariner Tourney

December 20, 2013
By JIM LINETTE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With a hot streak, any of the eight teams playing this weekend in the Mariner Christmas Tournament could win it all.

That includes the host Tritons (8-2), who have won their own holiday tournament just once in its nine-year history.

"We've been in the finals four or five times, but won it only once in 2008 when we beat a good Clewiston team," said Tritons coach James Harris.

Defending tournament champion Island Coast is back in the field for another shot, along with three-time champ Charlotte.

"I'm excited about the tournament," said Harris. "We're excited to host this tournament. It's better than sitting on our duffs for three weeks over the holidays. I think this is the best field ever in the nine years."

You can't count out Estero or Lehigh contending for the title, or a challenge from Palmetto and Charlotte.

"Island Coast is an up-and-coming team this year and Estero is a good team," said Harris. "When you get teams like Palmetto and Charlotte wanting to come down, it's going to be a good tournament. Any team that plays well for three days can win the title."

Due to a scheduling conflict for Lehigh, its first-round game with Southwest Florida Christian was played Thursday night. SWF Christian upset the Lightning 65-63.

The tournament tips off at 4 p.m. Friday at Mariner when Charlotte takes on Estero. The action continues with Palmetto against Island Coast at 5:45 p.m. and the Tritons facing Cypress Lake at 7:30.

Two consolation games and two semifinal games are on tap for Saturday, starting at 2:15 p.m.

The three-day event wraps up Monday with four games, starting at 2:15 p.m. with the 7th place game, followed in order by the 5th place game, 3rd place game and the championship game at 7:30 p.m.

"We've always had eight teams in this tournament," said Harris. "It was never intended to be the City of Palms tourney, but this year I think is will be more evenly competitive than City of Palms. I just don't see eight good games there. I don't think we are competing against City of Palms, either. People who want to see us play or the others will come out and watch."



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