By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NAPLES — Port Charlotte’s girls basketball team has played some close games this season, but until Wednesday, the Pirates hadn’t been able to finish with a win.
That changed with a 44-31 decision against Lely in the Turkey Shootout at Barron Collier High School.
“To come down here and get this first win, it gets us in the right mind set,” Port Charlotte coach Kevin Purcell said. “It obviously makes Thanksgiving more enjoyable. I think we did some things better, but we still have work to do.”
Port Charlotte (1-3) had lost two of its three games by just three points, but its win was never seriously in doubt.
The Pirates led 20-15 at halftime, but used a 13-0 run over the first five minutes of the third quarter to take an 18-point lead and essentially seal the game.
Ashlyn Henderson was busy in that third quarter, as she was the main reason for the Trojans’ two biggest problems: turnovers and fouls. Henderson had four of her steals in the third quarter and made six trips to the foul line.
In total, Lely (0-4) had 41 turnovers to go with 31 fouls. Henderson was the recipient of a large portion of those fouls, making 12 trips to the charity stripe, and also forced plenty of turnovers with a game-high 12 steals. She also had 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Henderson wasn’t alone in getting to the foul line, but the team didn’t capitalize as well as Purcell would’ve liked. The Pirates were just 18-for-51, leaving a lot of points on the table.
“Layups and free throws, that’s what wins games, and we didn’t do very well with that,” Purcell said. “They were playing us aggressive man-to-man, and we responded to it. I’m pleased (we got to the line), but we have to make those.”
Celia Baermann was another Port Charlotte player to finish the day with a double-double. The forward had 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
“We should’ve won more. We’re six points away from two district wins already,” Baermann said. “But it feels great to get this win in.”
Gerda Guerrier had six of her 12 points in the first quarter. She also had eight steals and four rebounds. Rachael Livingston totaled 11 rebounds, five points and four rebounds. Sariah Dempaire and Kasai Atwood each had six rebounds.
Starting point guard Jenae Dennard sat out Wednesday’s game with an illness. She is expected to be fine by the next game.
For the Trojans, Irmice Charelus had a team-high 14 points and Deasia Nicols led with eight rebounds.
PORT CHARLOTTE 44, LELY 31
Port Charlotte 8 12 14 10 — 44
Lely 3 12 5 11 — 31
Port Charlotte (44): Ashlyn Henderson 13, Gerda Guerrier 12, Celia Baermann 11, Livingston 5, Lombardo 2, Dempaire 1. Totals: 13(0) 18-51 (44)
Lely (31): Irmice Charelus 14, Alvarado 9, Nicolas 4, Grening 3, Nazareth 1. Totals: 10(2) 9-16 31