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Darrett a shining light among stars

March 12, 2014
By LYLE FITZSIMMONS - Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

As swan songs go, Kaleb Darrett could have done far worse.

The Mariner senior donned his black and white Tritons uniform for a final time Tuesday night and scored 12 points while helping the North team claim a frenetic 89-74 victory over the South team in the annual Southwest Florida Association of Basketball Coaches All-Star game at Bishop Verot.

It was the first organized on-court appearance for the 6-foot-1 guard since Mariner was eliminated from the FHSAA's Class 5A playoffs last month, and it was preceded Tuesday night by his nomination as one of a half-dozen finalists for the SFABC's "Mr. Basketball" competition.

The award ultimately went to Michigan-bound Verot center Ricky Doyle, but it didn't seem to bother Darrett, who slashed, dashed and dunked his way through roughly 20 minutes of action in the exhibition, which was played in two collegiate halves rather than the typical four high school quarters.

"This was exciting," he said. "I was hoping to get to this place, and it came true."

Darrett was joined by Cape Coral's Jovan Boyd and Island Coast's Morgan Foreman and Sonel Mathurin on the North squad, which also was comprised of players from Fort Myers, Lehigh, Riverdale, Dunbar, Charlotte, Port Charlotte and the Evangelical Christian School.

The South team included representation from Barron Collier, Gateway, East Lee County, Community School of Naples, Golden Gate, Estero, Lely, Donahue and Palmetto Ridge.

The teams had one two-hour weekend practice session each before arriving for the game, which featured more sustained up-and-down action and highlight-reel individual efforts than most high school contests. Darrett got in on the dunk parade when he elevated for a two-hander early in the second half, and the Seahawks' Boyd had his own chances to impress while running the point.

"It's a lot of fun playing with people I played against for four years," Boyd said. "I just wanted to go out there and distribute the ball, and score when I had a chance."

The 5-foot-11 guard did that with a pair of three-pointers in the final 70 seconds of the first half. He's hoping the skills he showed on both ends of the floor will warrant a chance to play at the next level.

Representatives from four possible destinations including Eckerd College and Ave Maria University were in attendance Tuesday night.

"Coach (Tom Kenna) is talking to a couple colleges right now," he said. "Maybe one in California. And there's some other ones, too, maybe D-3 or D-2. Hopefully, I'll go somewhere good."

The boys all-star game was the nightcap of a doubleheader that began with a girls matchup featuring one team from Charlotte, Collier and Hendry counties against an opponent made up exclusively of players from Lee County, including Cape Coral's Samaria Jones, Crystal Townsend and Julia Ramsey, and Ida Baker's Jessica Placher.

The Lee County-centric team won 89-57 and the Seahawks' Townsend was named the area's "Miss Basketball" after a season in which she averaged 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game and helped Cape Coral to a Class 5A-12 district title and an overall record of 24-6.



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