By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — Whether it was Shemar Fleurissant, Klayton Morris or Sean Price, Port Charlotte High School had no trouble scoring points against Lemon Bay Friday night.
All three players scored at least 20 points in the win, helping the Pirates to a big District 7A-10 victory of 78-63 over the Manta Rays.
“We knew coming in that they were playing really well,” Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said. “I tell the kids every day ‘the target is on our backs.’ And our kids have responded to that. We need to be the hunters instead of the huntees. Those young guys have to bring that energy and enthusiasm, and they have.”
The sophomore Fleurissant had a game-high 23 points for the Pirates (8-0, 5-0), scoring 11 of those points in a big third quarter, where Port Charlotte out-scored Lemon Bay 20-7 and ended the period with a 62-45 lead.
The Manta Rays (5-4, 3-3) managed to bring it to a six-point game with 1:47 left on the clock, but ran out of steam, after trailing by as much as 19 in the beginning parts of the fourth quarter.
“We ran through a little scoreless stretch at the beginning of the third quarter, they went on a little run and we had a hard time recovering from that,” Lemon Bay coach Sean Huber said. “Our effort was outstanding. It was super loud in the first half, so we had some communication breakdowns, and when we had those breakdowns it cost us with turnovers.”
The first half belonged to Morris and Price, who combined for 27 points in the first two quarters. The duo ended the night with 22 and 20 points, respectively. It was Morris’ 3-pointer to begin the second half which sparked their big run.
Morris and Fleurissant each had seven rebounds.
“We have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket, maybe even guys who didn’t score tonight,” Specht said. “People put all of their attention on (Price), but that kind opens a lot up for somebody else, and that’s kind of what happened tonight. He’s still going to get his. I don’t care how much attention you give him, but the more attention you give him, it opens everybody else up.”
For Lemon Bay, the loss ended a five-game win streak after losing the season’s first three contests. Luke Morrill had a team-high 13 points. Keegan Wyman, Michael Reid and Tyler Caron each had nine points. Hayden Wolff had 10 rebounds.
But it wasn’t scoring which was an issue for the Manta Rays. It was their defense allowing at least 20 points in each of the first three quarters.
“Defensively, Port Charlotte holds their opponents to 40 points or less,” Huber said. “And we scored 63. So if we go 23 points over their average, I’m feeling good about things. I’m not feeling good about giving up 78, but they’re a tough cover. They have lots of good players who do lots of good things.”
Cade Huber scored eight of his 10 points in the second quarter, where Lemon Bay managed to bring the score within three points late in the period before heading into the break trailing 42-38. Huber also had four rebounds.
PORT CHARLOTTE 78, LEMON BAY 63
Port Charlotte 21 21 20 16 — 78
Lemon Bay 14 24 7 18 — 63
Port Charlotte (78): Shemar Fleurissant 23, Klayton Morris 22, Sean Price 20, Perry 6, Cleveland 3, Gainey 2, Johnson 2. Totals: 25(4) 24-34.
Lemon Bay (63): Luke Morrill 13, Cade Huber 10, Wyman 9, Caron 9, Reid 9, Comer 6, Wolff 5, Bottenfield 2. Totals: 20(8) 15-17 63.