Island Coast coach Greg Coleman has seen this before, several times already this season. The Gators take a lead, then watches as the opponent comes back to win at the end.
It happened to the Gators again Tuesday in the first round of the Holiday Madness Tournament at East Lee County High School. Like watching a rerun of a really bad TV show.
The Gators blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, then were overtaken by a three-pointer with four seconds left in overtime that gave St. Mary's of Hamilton, Ontario, a 69-67 victory.
"That's been our story all season. We get a lead and can't close them out," Coleman said. "Our defense broke down in the fourth quarter. We have to learn to finish games."
With Island Coast leading 67-66, Liam Quinn, who scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, connected on a baseline jumper from behind the arc to put the Crusaders (8-11) in the lead.
The Gators' Tim Dal Bon tried a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it drew iron and nothing else.
"We didn't quit. We got the ball in Quinn's hands and had a shooter's chance," St. Mary's coach Manny Furtado said. "This was a big win for us."
It looked like it wasn't meant to be in the third quarter. The Gators (6-6), who led 24-21 at the break, got things going at both ends of the court. Pablo Matos scored eight points in the quarter to give the Gators a 47-35 lead late in the quarter.
The Crusaders put together a 19-6 run, highlighted by Macbeth Madziba's layup with 2:43 left in regulation to finally take a 54-53 lead.
St. Mary's opened a 58-54 lead before the Gators answered. Terrell Griffin and Matos scored baskets in the final minute to tie the game at 58-58.
Christian Paetkau gave the Crusaders a 60-58 lead with a layup, but with 17 seconds left Dal Bon sank a 15-footer from near the foul line to tie it 60-60 and send it into overtime.
Matos put the Gators in front 63-60 with a three-pointer the hard way, but Quinn, who hit five from long range, tied it with a baseline jumper.
With the Gators up 66-65, Harrison Reid put St. Mary's in front with a layup, but the Gators regained the lead with 28 seconds left on a lay-in by Griffin off an offensive rebound.
Dal Bon led the Gators with 18 points. Griffin had 16 points and 15 rebounds. Matos scored all 15 of his points in the second half with 13 rebounds.
Madziba and Reid had 15 points for the Crusaders.
St. Mary's plays Riverdale Wednesday in the quarterfinal round. The Gators take on the East Lee and Estero loser at 11:45 a.m.
Ida Baker faces the East Lee-Estero winner at 8 p.m. in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Island Coast 13 11 23 13 7 - 67
St. Mary's 11 10 16 23 9 - 69
Island Coast 67 - Tim Dal Bon 18, Terrell Griffin 16, Pablo Matos 15, Isaac Aponte 8, Allen Gomez 7, Robert Stark 3. Totals: 25 14-21 67. 3PG: 3.
St. Mary's 69 - Liam Quinn 18, Macbeth Madziba 15, Harrison Reid 15, Elcock 8, Paetkau 4, Lukisius 4, Thornewell 3, Randall 2. Team totals: 26 7-16 69. 3PG: 10.