GIRLS BASKETBALL: Charlotte takes care of business at home

By Pete Sisk, Sun Correspondent

Charlotte's Madison Burton drives to the basket as Cape Coral's Faith White defends, during Friday night's game (Sun Photo by Michele Haskell).

Charlotte’s Madison Burton drives to the basket as Cape Coral’s Faith White defends, during Friday night’s game (Sun Photo by Michele Haskell).

If this was a statement game, the Charlotte High Lady Tarpons said exactly what they wanted to say.

Charlotte (6-2, 4-0 District 7A-10) rolled past district power Cape Coral 54-38 on Friday in the auxiliary gym of Charlotte High School.

A wrestling tournament may have pushed the Lady Tarpons to the side, but when the game got going, it was Charlotte that pushed Cape Coral (8-2, 4-1) to the side.

“Gotta handle — especially in district — you gotta handle home court,” Charlotte coach Matt Stephenson. “We know it’s going to be a battle when we get down there, so we did our job tonight.”

Down there will be Jan. 20 at Cape Coral in what will be the final regular-season district game for both teams. And down there is a place the Seahawks haven’t lost so far this young season.

Before Friday, the Seahawks’ only defeat had been at Fort Myers.

Taylor Kirkus led a balanced Lady Tarpons offense with 14 points and eight rebounds. Kayla Lamb scored 10, including three 3-pointers, and Kelyn Moses and Alani Qualls each added 10 points.

“TK, Taylor Kirkus played her butt off,” Stephenson said. “We’ve been waiting for that all year.”

The Cape lineup Charlotte played on Friday had a different look than in recent seasons. Gone are the outside threats, with coach Olivia Myers relying heavily on the inside game of Diedre Charamond. Charamond certainly did her part with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and three steals.

But only one other Cape Coral player scored from the field, Joilyn Lewis with six points. The rest of Cape’s scoring came at the foul line. Cape Coral only attempted one 3-point shot, and it missed.

By comparison, the Tarpons hit seven 3-pointers.

So Charlotte had an advantage in not having to worry about Cape perimeter shooters.

“Personally I think it’s easier,” Stephenson said. “They’re definitely an athletic team. But it fits our game plan a little bit more, without having to worry about the outside so much.”

The Lady Tarpons are home against Lehigh on Tuesday, and still have district games this month with Island Coast and Port Charlotte before a tournament game with Dunbar at Island Coast on Dec. 23. Stephenson still hopes to fit in that lost home game against Island Coast.

That could wind up playing a big role in where Charlotte winds up being seeded for the district tournament. That contest with Island Coast would be a home game – and as Stephenson said, the Lady Tarpons have to handle home court.

CHARLOTTE 54, CAPE CORAL 38

Cape Coral 9 10 10 9—38
Charlotte 13 19 14 8—54

Cape Coral (38): White 3, Hardin 2, Lewis 6, Diedre Charamond 27. Totals: 12 (0) 14-26—38.

Charlotte (54): Kelyn Moses 10, Alani Qualls 10, Kayla Lamb 10, Bunch 10, M. Moses 2, Taylor Kirkus 14. Totals: 18 (7) 11-19 58.

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