By Josh Grant, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD—Tuesday night’s district contest between the Ida Baker High School girls basketball team and Lemon Bay got off to a slow start, mainly because Ida Baker’s team bus didn’t arrive until the scheduled tip-off.
However, despite struggling to find an offensive identity early, the Manta Rays cruised to a 46-15 blowout win.
“Offensively, it was a slow start in the beginning,” Lemon Bay coach Mike Young said. “We had to learn to play inside-outside against the zone instead of the opposite.”
Despite the struggles on offense, the Manta Rays’ defense was tough enough to counter the offensive woes, keeping Ida Baker off the scoreboard until 3:07 left in the second quarter.
“Defensively, we got out into the passing lanes, pressured the ball and got some easy baskets,” Young said. “Tonight was an all-around, good team effort.”
The Lemon Bay defense forced 35 turnovers and totaled 21 steals, 16 of which came from four different players who also totaled four steals each — Breanna Nelson, Katie Stevens, Lauren Maheu and Dominique Mamalis.
Senior Kelsey Hansen led the scoring with a game-high 11 points while freshman Abby Turner finished with a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“We were able to get everyone some playing time tonight,” Young said. “It’s good to see some kids get rewarded for their hard work with some baskets and rebounds.”
Turner, combined with junior Francesca Gallucci, finished with 20 offensive rebounds, which were two more than Ida Baker’s total for the entire game.
Gallucci finished just two points shy of a double-double of her own, scoring eight points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
“We preach rebounding, especially offensive weak side rebounding, every day,” Young said. “We have to do those little things to be successful. Crashing the boards and playing solid defense is one of them.
Lemon Bay (7-3, 4-3) finishes out with a difficult schedule, hosting the DeSoto County Bulldogs on Thursday before traveling to Port Charlotte on Friday. The Manta Rays defeated the Pirates 38-35 in the teams’ first meeting this season.
“They beat Port Charlotte, so I am expecting a pretty decent team,” Young said. “They usually have a group of aggressive, athletics kids that play hard.”
LEMON BAY 46, IDA BAKER 15
Ida Baker 0 5 3 7 – 15
Lemon Bay 14 8 13 11 – 46
Ida Baker (15): De La Porte 5, Jones 4, Gorra 3, May 2, Abel 1. Totals: 5 (2) 3-6 15.
Lemon Bay (46): Kelsey Hansen 11, Abby Turner 10, Gallucci 8, Mamalis 6, Maheu 4, Stevens 4, Redmann 2, Carley 1. Totals: 18 (0) 8-17 46.