By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA — Kelyn Moses scored 20 points and the Charlotte High School girls basketball team ended the first half with a 14-3 run to break the game open as the Tarpons remained unbeaten in District 7A-10 play with a 65-47 victory over rival Port Charlotte on Monday.
The Tarpons knocked down nine 3-pointers, four from Moses, on the night, most of which came in the decisive second quarter. Most importantly, they began to crash the boards and come away with rebounds they didn’t get early on.
“We had a slow start, but picked it up in the second quarter. We had a tough time rebounding, but we starting getting the ball and that put us on that run,” Charlotte coach Matt Stephenson said. “Whenever we’re able to rebound, we’re a way more successful team.”
Charlotte (7-4, 6-0) jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead. The Pirates were able to chip away and lead briefly in the second quarter as Celia Baermann got hot and the Tarpons fell into foul trouble.
That left it up to the outside shooters to get the job done for Charlotte, and they did. Kayla Lamb scored 10 of her 12 points in the second with a pair of threes that highlighted the scoring spurt that turned a deficit into a 34-21 halftime lead.
“Kayla and Kelyn are going to bring it every night. We have other pieces on the team that can show up and score, and that makes us that much more dangerous,” Stephenson said. “Anyone can step up and be that third person.”
On this night, it was Alani Qualls, who scored 11 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter as Charlotte built its lead to as much as 26 before calling off the dogs.
Jenae Dennard led the Pirates (3-9, 2-5) with 16 points. Baermann scored 13, while Ashlyn Henderson had a hot fourth quarter to finish with 11.
Port Charlotte coach Kevin Purcell said Charlotte shot the ball well from the outside in the first half, leading to a deficit the Pirates could not overcome.
“Charlotte pushes the ball down your throat and you have to play a full four quarters. They’re the No. 1 team in the district for a reason,” Purcell said. “We battled all the way to the end. We’ll go back to the drawing board and get things right for districts.”
CHARLOTTE 65, PORT CHARLOTTE 47
Port Charlotte 9 12 5 21 – 47
Charlotte 11 23 10 21 – 65
Port Charlotte (47): Jenae Dennard 16, Celia Baermann 13, Ashlyn Henderson 12, Livingston 3, Guerrier 2, Dempaire 2. Totals: 13(4) 17-26 47.
Charlotte (65): Kelyn Moses 20, Alani Qualls 18, Kayla Lamb 12, Moses 8, Burton 4, Bunch 3. Totals: 21(9) 14-23 65.