PORT CHARLOTTE – Sean Price wasn’t trying to think about it, but he felt the pressure.
Price was two points shy of 1,000 career points, but he let it get to him early as his shots went off the mark and the Port Charlotte High School boys basketball team struggled in its District 7A-10 contest against a depleted Cape Coral squad.
Eventually, he got those points on a mid-range jumper late in the first quarter, which took the pressure off him and the Pirates as they overcame a slow start and pulled away in the second half for a 57-41 victory at the Pirate Cove to remain unbeaten.
Price, who ended up with a game- high 22 points, said he wasn’t playing his game early.
“I was doing things I shouldn’t do and I got ahead of myself. The shots weren’t falling and I started getting mad at myself. I was able to get in the flow and start catching up,” Price said.
The Seahawks (4-4, 3-2) went into their biggest game of the year without their five seniors, who were suspended from the team for violating team rules, leaving them to change their game plan from fast-paced to more deliberate.
It worked at first as the Seahawks built a five-point lead early in the second quarter, but the 3-2 zone they were playing allowed the Pirates to shoot from outside as Noah Mortimer hit a pair of 3-pointers to give the Pirates a 22-18 lead at the half.
Port Charlotte (7-0, 4-0) poured it on in the third quarter against a tired Cape Coral team that dressed just nine players. Price poured in 11 points and Klayton Morris contributed six to build the lead to double figures and the Pirates never looked back.
Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said it was the Seahawks who were the aggressors as they controlled the boards and didn’t allow the overconfident Pirates to get into their game.
“There were a lot of distractions. The points we were trying to get Sean and they were missing five kids, so I think the kids underestimated them and they were still a good team,” Specht said. “They were getting offensive rebounds, and when we can’t rebound, we can’t run.”
Harwin Francois led the Seahawks with 13 points while Bryan Markovich added 11.
“We were a little tired, but I thought we contested every shot in the first half until the last three minutes,” Cape Coral coach Brandon Sensor said. “We didn’t contest their shots after that and they started hitting threes.”
Shemer Fleurissant scored 13 for the Pirates, which went 4 of 16 from the free-throw line. But the night belonged to Price, who achieved one of the great benchmarks in high school basketball.
“It’s cool to have an accomplishment like that and to know I’m one of the top scorers, but it’s nice to have that out of the way early in the season so I don’t have to worry about it at the end of the season,” Price said.
PORT CHARLOTTE 57, CAPE CORAL 41
Cape Coral 10 8 13 10 – 41
Port Charlotte 9 13 21 14 – 57
Cape Coral (41): Harwin Francois 13, Bryan Markovich 11, Moreno 7, Gibson 6, Thomas 4. Totals: 16(2) 7-12 41.
Port Charlotte (57): Sean Price 22, Shemer Fleurissant 13, Morris 6, Mortimer 6, Gainey 4, Perry 2, Perez-Dunn 2, Johnson 2. Totals: 23(7) 4-16 57.