By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The previous 24 home games for the Port Charlotte High School boys basketball team all had one thing in common prior to Monday night.
They all ended with a Pirate victory.
That streak came to an end when Charlotte pulled off the 52-36 upset over its crosstown rivals.
“Our execution was phenomenal,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “We had a lot of different ideas, and we threw them all together and it really worked out for us. I can’t be more proud of the way we handled it tonight. It’s the best our team has executed in a long time.”
Six points in the fourth quarter each for seniors Brian Hundt and Trevor Bokon helped seal the game for the Tarpons (6-4, 5-1 in District 7A-10), as they closed things with their largest lead of the night.
Bokon had the ball in his hands longer than any other player Monday night, as the Charlotte guard captained a very clear Tarpon plan, which was to keep the game’s pace as slow as possible. Charlotte accomplished that, limiting Port Charlotte to just 17 points over the first half, and taking a 33-29 lead after three quarters.
“They’re such an explosive offensive team, so we wanted to make them work defensively a little bit, take good shots, and take advantage of mismatches when we got them,” Massolio said. “I’m so happy with my seniors. Tonight was a big win, and we know they had a big home win streak here, and we wanted to make sure that was taken care of.”
The Pirates (8-1, 5-1) struggled all night hitting their open field goals, especially from 3-point range, where they made just a pair of long distance, and were limited to only seven field goals on the night. Sean Price, the area’s leading scorer this season, was held without a point for the first 14 minutes of the game.
“We knew it was coming,” Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said. “It was nothing we didn’t expect. I’m surprised teams haven’t done it more to us. We just need guys to step up and knock down shots.
“Tonight just wasn’t our night. You have to give Charlotte credit. They played hard. Out kids played hard, too.”
Price’s lone field goal of the night gave his team a 17-16 lead at the time. He hit a pair of free throws a few moments later to re-take the lead at 19-18, but a 6-0 run for the Tarpons gave them an advantage they would never relinquish.
Charlotte used the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to go on a 7-2 run and take a 40-31 lead while the clock continued to tick down.
Bokon, Hundt and sophomore Ahmad Johnson all ended the night in double figures for the Tarpons. Bokon and Johnson each had 12 points. Hundt finished with 11.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Bokon was fouled hard by Tyler Perry, took exception to the foul and gave Perry a shove. Perry and Will Batts ended up exchanging shoves in the ensuing scuffle, and each of them were ejected for the remainder of the game. Batts had a game-high nine rebounds before his departure.
Price and Shemar Fleurissant each had 10 points. Klayton Morris was limited to six points.
The Pirates were just one game removed from scoring 78 points against Lemon Bay, where Price, Fleurissant and Morris all scored at least 20 points.
“That’s basketball for you,” Specht said. “You can’t do anything about it. All you can do is come to practice tomorrow, go hard, and learn from it.”
Charlotte’s win also snapped a six-game losing streak to Port Charlotte dating back to the 2014-15 season.
Port Charlotte will get its chance at revenge on Jan. 13 in Punta Gorda as part of the Wally Keller Classic.
CHARLOTTE 52, PORT CHARLOTTE 36
Charlotte 9 9 15 19 — 52
Port Charlotte 9 8 11 8 — 36
Charlotte (52): Ahmad Johnson 24, Trevor Bokon 12, Brian Hundt 11, Haas 9, Scribner 2, Grant 2, Rousseau 2, Batts 2. Totals: 13(2) 24-32 52.
Port Charlotte (36): Shemar Fleurissant 10, Sean Price 10, Johnson 7, Morris 6, Perry 3. Totals: 7(2) 20-26 36.