By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
Port Charlotte’s Shawn Campbell gets set for a free throw in a preseason win against Impact Academy on Wednesday (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).
PUNTA GORDA — Shawn Campbell spent the beginning of his junior year as one of the go-to offensive players on Port Charlotte High School’s football team.
He scored a touchdown just five days ago in a season-ending loss for the Pirates, but now has to quickly turn the page to basketball season.
Campbell isn’t the go-to player anymore, though, and due to his limited time with the team so far, was the last man off the bench in Wednesday’s 74-39 preseason win against Impact Academy.
“I wasn’t even going to dress him, but I figured he might as well get his feet wet,” coach Bill Specht said. “He doesn’t know much of our offense yet, and he’s learning our defense. We don’t even know much about him yet.”
The guard entered the game for the first time with 5:52 left in the fourth quarter, but by then, things were wrapped up for Port Charlotte.
Campbell made an impact in his limited time on the court despite having just one practice under his belt. He made two trips to the foul line, hit two of his four free throws, grabbed a pair of rebounds, and made two assists to set up his teammates.
“I practiced Monday and that’s it,” Campbell said. “I haven’t learned all the plays yet, so coach just told me to go in there and play ball. I’ve been playing basketball, so I just did my thing a little bit.”
Campbell averaged 7.1 yards per carry the way to a 540-yard, 10-touchdown season as a running back, but in basketball, Specht sees Campbell developing into a defensive threat.
“Right now he’s just being a great teammate. He’s quiet, and is learning from everybody,” Specht said. “I think he can be a really good defender, because I think he’s pretty. Obviously if he can see the court the way he did tonight, he’s a guy who can help handle the basketball.”
Port Charlotte built a 14-point lead at half time, and outscored Impact 16-3 in the third quarter. The Pirates did that with the help of Sean Price, who scored 23 points with seven steals and six rebounds.. Most of his damage came in the first half, and he did not play in the fourth quarter.
Shemer Fleurissant had a double-double in the win, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Klayton Morris chipped in with nine points, and Tyler Perry scored eight points.
“We had a really good film session watching last night’s game today after school,” Specht said. “I think they kind of opened their eyes to we have to play harder than the other team, or we’re not going to be very successful. Last night, I don’t think we played harder than the other team, and it showed because we lost by 25 points.”
Qaiyoom Olanlege had a team-high 18 points for the Spartans. Mohamed Mohamed had 10 points.
PORT CHARLOTTE 74, IMPACT ACADEMY 39
Impact 10 15 3 11 — 39
Port Charlotte 17 22 16 19 — 74
Impact (39): Qaiyoom Olanlege 18, Mohamed Mohamed 10, Oganisyan 7, Drazic 3, Santos 1. Totals: 11(4) 13-22 39.
Port Charlotte (74): Sean Price 23, Shemer Fleurissant 12, Morris 9, Perry 8, Romero 4, Cleveland 4, Leggett 3, Carr 2, Gainey 2. Totals: 24(7) 19-31 74.