By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
Charlotte’s Spencer Ingle dribbles the ball around the Mariner defense (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).
PUNTA GORDA — It was a different night and different story for Charlotte High School on Wednesday in the second game of the preseason.
The Tarpons were sinking shot after shot on Tuesday against Impact Academy, but the same shots weren’t falling against Mariner. The Tritons, on the other hand, did make their shots, and went on to win 64-51.
“Credit Mariner. They’re a good defensive team and lengthy,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “Every time we had a chance to cut it down, there was a big play and we just couldn’t make the big play.”
Mariner led nearly the entire night, closing things out with its largest margin.
Will Batts grabbed an offensive rebound, hit the putback lay up and a foul shot to complete the 3-point play as the third quarter came to a close to bring Charlotte to within just seven points. Triton Brandon Kostyk hit one of his three 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter to make it 49-39, and essentially gave his team a lead which felt insurmountable.
Kostyk had a game-high 19 points in the win. Batts had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Tarpons had five different scorers in double figures Tuesday, but just Batts and Mackengie Simon on Wednesday. Simon had a team-high 18 points and also had 12 rebounds.
There were points in the game where things weren’t going the right way for Charlotte, so Simon stepped things up, and took control of the situation.
“He’s an energy guy,” Massolio said. “He’s gonna go get it, and he’s going to make plays. He’s one of those guys we don’t have to run anything for him, he just goes and gets it with all his hustle. He’s one of the bright spots in the two games.”
Shooting was a big difference for the Tarpons. On Tuesday, Jake Haas made five 3-pointers in the first quarter alone, and was held to just five points on 1-of-5 shooting from long distance in the loss. He wasn’t alone.
Massolio still found positives in his team’s game despite the loss.
“I thought our defense was a lot better tonight than it actually was last night,” Massolio said. “That’s a good offensive team, and I thought we did a good job giving us a chance to win with our defense.”
MARINER 64, CHARLOTTE 51
Mariner 12 17 17 18 — 64
Charlotte 8 12 19 12 — 51
Mariner (64): Brandon Kostyk 19, Dominique Carpenter 14, Jahamel Myers 9, S. Kostyk 8, Corey Friar 8, Amari Haynes 6. Totals: 25 (5) 9-14 64
Charlotte (51): Mackengie Simon 18, Wills Batts 10, Hundt 7, Johnson 6, Haas 5, Ingle 3, Kee 2. Totals: 16(2) 17-21 51