BOYS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Recaps for our area teams from Saturday

(This page will be updated throughout the night with recaps for Port Charlotte, Lemon Bay, North Port and Charlotte Saturday at the Battle at the Beach Shootout at Venice.)

North Port's Bryan O'Boyle goes up for a layup as Largo's Isaiah Bellamy blocks, during Saturday's 4th Annual Battle at the Beach held at Venice High School (Sun photo by Michele Haskell).

North Port’s Bryan O’Boyle goes up for a layup as Largo’s Isaiah Bellamy blocks, during Saturday’s 4th Annual Battle at the Beach held at Venice High School (Sun photo by Michele Haskell).

PORT CHARLOTTE 62, CARDINAL MOONEY 30

By Josh Grant, Sun Correspondent

VENICE — It might’ve been early, but it didn’t take long for the Port Charlotte Pirates to start scoring often in Saturday’s Battle at the Beach opening matchup against Cardinal Mooney.

Just seconds after the Pirates won the tip, Brandon Gainey’s two-handed slam dunk, on an assist from Sean Price, began the rout as Port Charlotte defeated Cardinal Mooney 62-30.

“I was a little leery after coming back from a two-week break for a 10:30 game on a Saturday morning,” Pirates coach Bill Specht said. “We haven’t played a game in two weeks, but they came out, played hard and took care of business.”

Price, who came into Saturday’s game as the area leader in points per game with 20.9, finished with just 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting, but dished out six assists, four coming on the first four Pirate baskets of the day.

Sophomore Shemar Fleurissant finished with a game-high 15 points, while Gainey finished with 13 points and senior guard Klayton Morris finished with 11.

Defensively, the Pirates forced 18 turnovers while holding Cardinal Mooney to just 9-of-39 shooting from the field.

“Defensively, we were able to work on a few different things,” Specht said. “I’m happy we got a chance to do that. Around here we say if we play defense, rebound and don’t turn the ball over, we’re going to win.”

Port Charlotte 11-1 (5-1) begins a stretch of six district games over 14 days, including a rematch against county rival Charlotte, who handed the Pirates their only loss of the season back on Dec. 19, with a 52-36 win.

“We’re looking at our stretch run now,” Specht said. “We have that one district loss glaring at us and six district games to get that one loss back.”

“Six in a row, that’s what we’re building for.”

PORT CHARLOTTE 62, CARDINAL MOONEY 30
Port Charlotte     17 15 20 8 — 62
Cardinal Mooney 8   7   8  7 — 30

Port Charlotte (62): Shemar Fleurissant 15, Brandon Gainey 13, Klayton Morris 11, Sean Price 11, Johnson 4, Campbell 4, Perry 2, Perez-Dunn. Totals: 23 (6) 10-17 62.
Cardinal Mooney (30): Jordan McNeal 12, Pascarella 4, Arnel 3, Conetta 3, Del Medico 3, Sacco 2, Varone 2, Juall 1. Totals: 9 (5) 7-13 30.

FORT MYERS 80, LEMON BAY 49

By Josh Grant, Sun Correspondent

VENICEA little over 12 hours after a big 63-59 win over district rival Charlotte, the Lemon Bay Manta Rays took the court in the Battle at the Beach against the Fort Myers Green Wave without two key pieces of their starting five—Hayden Wolff and Tyler Caron.

Without the presence of the 6’6 Wolff (football camp) and the 6’4 Caron (foot injury), and the difficulty of playing a day game after a late night, the Manta Rays found it difficult to keep up with the size and speed of Fort Myers, falling 80-49.

“Missing two starters obviously hurt, but it is what it is,” Lemon Bay coach Sean Huber said. “You still have to go out and play.”

Fort Myers had a slim, two-point lead after the first quarter (20-18) when something inexplicable happened to Lemon Bay.

No matter where the Manta Rays shot from in the second quarter, they simply could not seem to find the basket.

In the second quarter, Lemon Bay shot 1-of-10 from the field (0-for-5 from three), while Fort Myers scored 22 points in the second to go into halftime with a 42-22 lead.

The lone basket came on a layup with one minute left in the second quarter on a layup by sophomore Leon Fleming.

“I really think today boils down to that big stretch in the second quarter where we substituted some guys,” Huber said. “There are guys that deserve to play more minutes and I thought today would be a good opportunity to get them minutes in a meaningful game against a good opponent.”

Cade Huber and Jake Comer led the way with eight points while Keegan Wyman and Michael Reid each chipped in with seven.

While Lemon Bay hit 11 3-pointers in the previous night’s victory, the Manta Rays were held to just 7-of-22 from beyond the arc on Saturday.

“What it comes down to is us just doing the things that we do,” Huber said. “If you step outside the box to take a shot that’s not in rhythm, you’re not going to be very successful.

Lemon Bay (8-6) hosts Cardinal Mooney on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

“For us, it just comes down to taking today as one day, tomorrow is another day,” Huber said. “There are 30 billion people in China that had no idea what happened today.”

FORT MYERS 80, LEMON BAY 49
Fort Myers 20 22 21 17 – 80
Lemon Bay 18 4 15 12 — 49

Fort Myers (80): Nick Gentleman 17, Simon Wilbar 12, Jake Cox 10, Coleus 9, Brandon Luttrell 8, Shore 8, Roberts 8, Brady Luttrell 3, Prather 3, Murray 2. Totals: 31 (13) 3-3 80.
Lemon Bay (49): Huber 8, Comer 8, Wyman 7, Reid 7, Fleming 5, Brady 4, Yale 3, Sweeney 3, Gomez 2, Bottenfield 2. Totals: 17 (7) 9-14 49.

NORTH PORT 69, LARGO 64

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

VENICE — The North Port High School boys basketball team has struggled finishing games lately.

That was nearly the case again Saturday afternoon against Largo during the Battle at the Beach at Venice High School.

But despite five lead changes in the game’s final minutes, the Bobcats held on for a 69-64 victory over the Packers.

“We’ve been in this position many games in a row where we have the lead the first three quarters of the game and the fourth quarter teams battle their way back and make it a game again,” North Port coach Ryan Powers said.

The Bobcats (9-6) led for much of the contest, and the Packers (10-4) were unable to chip away at the deficit, as the two teams spent the first three and a half quarters with North Port holding a lead between three and seven points.

Largo trailed 58-53 with 3:34 remaining in the game, but it became evident they were about to take the lead. They did eventually, going up 62-60 with two minutes left on the clock.

North Port regained, lost and regained the lead over the next two minutes, and stayed in the game because of Gene Oliver, who scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter including a pair of late field goals.

“I thought Gene stepped up as a senior today,” Powers said. “We drew up a play for him coming out of a timeout, and he executed it. And we got a couple of defensive stops we hadn’t been able to get previously.”

A key moment came with 20 seconds left, when Largo’s Isaiah Bellamy grabbed a clutch offensive rebound, but Bobcat Bryson Thieme sent Bellamy’s putback attempt packing with a big block.

“It feels awesome,” Powers said. “It’s only January, but we had three or four games just like this where we lead three quarters, and the other team finds a way to take it away from us. So to see us persevere through adversity there in the fourth quarter, and come away with a win, it’s going to be great for our mentality.”

Adam Cohen had 15 points on the night for North Port. Bryan O’Boyle and Ben Via each scored nine points. Thieme and Babut ended the night with six points each.

O’Boyle scored all nine of his points in the second quarter, as his hot finish to half allowed the Bobcats to go into the locker room with a 34-30 lead. He also had eight rebounds and two blocks.

NORTH PORT 69, LARGO 64
Largo 10 20 17 17 — 64
North Port 11 23 18 17 — 69

Largo (64): Isaiah Bellamy 15, Nirobi Peeler 11, Robinson 9, Cooney 9, Tomlinson 8, Lockett 6, Deliu 3, Roundtree 2. Totals: 24(3) 13-20 64.
North Port (69): Gene Oliver 16, Adam Cohen 15, O’Boyle 9, Via 9, Z. Babut 6, Thieme 6, Allen 4, Ramirez 3. Totals: 25(4) 15-27 69.

LAKEWOOD RANCH 60, CHARLOTTE 41

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

VENICE — A tough weekend continued for the Charlotte High School boys basketball team as they lost their second game in less than 24 hours Saturday afternoon.

The stakes weren’t as high as the previous night, but the Tarpons fell 60-41 against Lakewood Ranch in the Battle at the Beach at Venice High School.

“That’s just part of basketball,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “There’s ups and downs to any season. It’s just how you battle back, and learn from it. We’ve got to do that.”

The Mustangs (12-2) were simply the better team Saturday, forcing Tarpon turnovers, controlling the boards and knocking down shots. Lakewood Ranch saw 10 different players score at least two points and five score six or more points.

Trailing 33-14 headed into the third quarter, things could have gotten out of hand for the Tarpons, if not for 10 points in the period for Jayden Grant. Charlotte (7-7) had previously scored just five points on one field goal in all of the second quarter.

Grant ended the night tied with Ahmad Johnson for a team-high 14 points. Will Batts was held scoreless, but he did come down with 10 rebounds.

“We started going to the basket, and getting way better shots than we did in the first and second quarters,” Massolio said. “That’s the difference in our offense. We can’t continue to take bad shots. We’re not that caliber of a team, and that’s Ok. We just have to play to our strengths.”

Lakewood Ranch had a fairly even offensive attack, with nine points for Kodey Elliot, and eight each for Damien Gordon and Blauvelt Georges. Jack Kelley had a big 13 rebounds for the Mustangs, including seven off the offensive glass.

When Lakewood Ranch forced its turnovers it wasn’t just on Charlotte mistakes, they outright stole the ball, with 19 steals, 13 of which came in the first half.

LAKEWOOD RANCH 60, CHARLOTTE 41
Charlotte 9 5 22 5 — 41
Lkwd Ranch 22 11 20 7 — 60

Charlotte (41): Jayden Grant 14, Ahmad Johnson 14, Scribner 5, Ingle 3, Reaves 2, Giacolone 2, Haas 1. Totals: 13(1) 14-21.
Lakewood Ranch (60): Elliot 9, Gordon 8, Georges 8, Muscara 6, Spiller 6, Kelley 4, Linblad 3, Sisson 3, Hester 2. Totals: 19(7) 15-19.

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