By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA – Aleisha Curry scored 28 points and the Lehigh Senior High School girls basketball team put together a 17-0 run to end the first half as the Lightning cruised to a 63-37 victory Monday against Charlotte.
The sophomore center was a consistent presence all evening, putting up easy baskets underneath and earning trips to the foul line, where she went 8 for 11.
“She’s one of the more dominant players in the region in the post,” said Lehigh coach Arthur Cedeno. “She’s unstoppable in the paint. Whenever she gets the ball down low, there’s a high-percentage chance it’s going in.”
Lehigh (8-0) overcame a slow start as the Tarpons hung tight for more than a quarter. They were able to break the press and make shots early as the lead see-sawed several times.
The game was tied at 15 midway through the second quarter, but with Kelyn Moses got in early foul trouble and the Tarpons went cold from the floor, the Lightning were able to get going, amp up the pressure with some new wrinkles the young Tarpons hadn’t seen, and get some easy baskets on the other end off turnovers.
A Jermecia Down 3-pointer highlighted a 17-0 run to blow the game open and give the Lightning a 32-17 lead at halftime.
“It was about picking up the intensity in the second quarter. We came out with more fire and more aggressive,” Cedeno said. “It’s been a long season and we started the game with some rust.”
The Lightning coasted from there and pulled away further as Cassidy Delva scored eight of her 10 points in the second half.
Charlotte (5-4) was led by Kayla Lamb with 14 points. Moses overcame the foul trouble, adding 11, nine in the second half when the game was already out of reach.
Charlotte coach Matt Stephenson said his team was not ready for the dominant post play from Curry, having not seen a player of her caliber.
“They threw something a little different at us. We still have a lot to work on and that rest on my shoulders,” Stephenson said. “We didn’t have the game plan for something like that, but we’ll bounce back.”
LEHIGH 63, CHARLOTTE 37
Lehigh 7 25 17 14 – 63
Charlotte 8 9 14 6 – 37
Lehigh (63): Aleisha Curry 28, Cassidy Delva 10, Desamour 8, Benetiz 7, Down 5. Totals: 22(2) 17-24 63.
Charlotte (37): Kayla Lamb 14, Kelyn Moses 11, Qualls 6, Bunch 6. Totals: 14(3) 6-11 37.