By Gary Brown, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Charlotte High School’s girls basketball team never trailed in beating host Lemon Bay 56-45 in a Class 7A-10 contest Thursday evening.
The Tarpons, 4-2 overall and 3-0 in district play, jumped to a 13-7 first-quarter lead and gradually increased its margin until the end. Alani Qualls scored 4 of her 16 points in the first quarter to help spark the Charlotte attack. Lemon Bay, 4-2 overall and 2-2 in district action battled the Tarpons evenly in the second quarter and trailed 26-19 at halftime.
But the Tarpons opened up their lead in the third quarter with a balanced attack and put the game away.They outscored the hosts 16-6 in the third period for a 42-25 lead going into the final quarter.
“We had a great collective effort as a team,” said Charlotte first-year head coach Matt Stephenson. “(Lemon Bay) threw a different plan at us and we adjusted to it well.”
Qualls canned two 3-point field goals in the second half and Michelle Bunch scored eight points in the third quarter to help solidify the Tarpons’ advantage. Breanna Nelson led the Manta Rays with 12 points.
The Tarpons will play again Tuesday with a district contest against Ida Baker, starting at 7 p.m. Lemon Bay will travel to Island Coast Tuesday for a district game at 7 p.m.