By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA – After losing three straight, the Charlotte High School girls basketball team really felt like beating someone up.
DeSoto County proved a worthy victim.
Michelle Bunch and Kelyn Moses had dominating performances as the Tarpons led wire-to-wire and breezed to a 60-30 victory over the Bulldogs in a non-conference matchup.
Charlotte (8-6) had a rough go of it during the holiday break, losing on the road to some of the tougher teams in the state.
“It was a good time to come home and get a good win,” Charlotte coach Matt Stephenson said. “We found ourselves during the break. We fought hard, played tough in every game, Kelyn got banged up, but she came back and we responded well.”
Charlotte got off to a fast start, and the only reason DeSoto County (5-8) stayed in the game was because Aleaha Richardson scored all eight of its points to keep the game within eight after one quarter.
It was all Charlotte from there as Moses scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, along with six assists, and Bunch scored eight in the second quarter on her way to 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Charlotte, which hit 11 of 12 free throws in the first half, led 39-18 at the break, and held the Bulldogs to two points in the third to bring the lead to 35 and force a running clock for the entire fourth quarter.
“We are a dangerous team when everyone comes together and does their part. That’s what we have to do to be a good team,” Stephenson said.
DeSoto County, which dressed just eight players, was led by Richardson’s 13 points. Coach Joe Davis said the Bulldogs made too many mistakes and dug themselves a quick hole that Richardson’s trigger couldn’t get out of.
“They got a big lead and we couldn’t catch up. We made mistakes we don’t usually make,” Davis said. “Our guards are going to carry us and Aleaha had a nice night. I was happy with her effort.”
Bunch said it felt good to be back home after the break and get their frustrations out after all the tough road games they faced.
“We were excited to get back to our gym and get the season going. We learned over the break we have to play as a team and that we can beat better teams if we come together,” Bunch said. “We wanted to get a blowout and just hammer them tonight.”
CHARLOTTE 60, DESOTO COUNTY 30
DeSoto 8 10 2 11 – 30
Charlotte 16 23 16 5 – 60
DeSoto County (30): Aleaha Richardson 13, Hatcher 7, Walker 6, Mosley 2, Harris 2. Totals: 12(4) 2-6 30
Charlotte (60): Kelyn Moses 19, Michelle Bunch 10, Kirkus 8, Lamb 7, Qualls 6, Burton 5, M. Moses 5. Totals: 21(5) 13-16 60.