By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
The parity among our area boys basketball teams this season is pretty amazing.
Lemon Bay has defeated Charlotte this season, but the Manta Rays lost to Port Charlotte, yet Charlotte has beaten the Pirates, and North Port has won against the Tarpons but lost to the Pirates.
It can be confusing, but bottom line is: they’re all pretty close in talent. Port Charlotte has continued to be the top team overall in the area, but there’s not that much of a drop when you go through the second to fourth-best teams, either.
The Manta Rays had a statement win this last week against Charlotte, as the Tarpons lost three straight games to close out the week. Neither team did very well in an early game on Saturday at the Battle at the Beach in Venice.
Two teams that did play well, though, were Port Charlotte and North Port. For the Pirates, it was their only game of the week, and they handed a shellacking to Cardinal Mooney. The Bobcats almost lost again after leading for the entirety of the game. But this time around they hung on for a weekend victory.
Looking ahead in this week, Charlotte hosting Port Charlotte on Friday will be an opportunity for the Pirates to return the favor the Tarpons paid them at home a few weeks ago. The Tarpons halted Port Charlotte’s long home winning streak with the upset win.
That’s the only intra-area matchup for the week, but all four teams will participate in the Wally Keller Shootout at Charlotte on Saturday.
Season record: 7-7 (5-2 in District 7A-10)
Last week: 1-3
Season record: 11-1 (5-1 in District 7A-10)
Last week: 1-0
Season record: 8-6 (4-4 in District 7A-10)
Last week: 1-1
Season record: 9-6 (2-0 in District 8A-12)
Last week: 1-1
North Port’s Devon Allen played in his first game of the season during the Bobcats win on Saturday. The school’s football quarterback was sidelined with a leg injury, but returned with four points, four rebounds and an assist.
This last week, Lakewood Ranch handed a loss to both the Tarpons and Bobcats. The Mustangs were pushed to the brink against North Port, coming back for a 75-70 win, but had an easier time against Charlotte, winning 68-41.
Both Port Charlotte an North Port played Cardinal Mooney in the last few weeks, easily rolling to victories by a combined 70 points. The Manta Rays will look to continue that dominance over the Cougars with a game tonight.
Lemon Bay’s Tyler Caron injured his ankle early in the game against Charlotte Friday night. The forward managed to return toward the end of the game, but he sat on Saturday to give his ankle a rest. He’s considered “day-to-day” right now as he works to get that ankle healthy.
Charlotte is hosting the other three teams for a shootout over the weekend, which should feature some great competition. Port Charlotte will play against SWFL Christian, North Port meets Golden Gate, Lemon Bay takes on Cambridge Christian and the Tarpons close things against Fort Myers.
Player School GP PPG
Sean Price Port Charlotte 11 20.0
Keegan Wyman Lemon Bay 14 15.9
Shemar Fleurissant Port Charlotte 10 14.6
Jake Comer Lemon Bay 14 13.3
Ahmad Johnson Charlotte 14 12.1
Mackengie Simon Charlotte 8 11.6
Bryan O’Boyle North Port 6 10.5
Gene Oliver North Port 15 10.3
Ben Via North Port 15 9.9
Tyler Caron Lemon Bay 13 9.7
Zach Babut North Port 15 9.2
Player School GP RPG
Sean Price Port Charlotte 11 9.5
Mackengie Simon Charlotte 8 8.2
Will Batts Charlotte 12 7.8
Brandon Gainey Port Charlotte 11 6.6
Hayden Wolff Lemon Bay 13 6.2
Tyler Caron Lemon Bay 13 5.4
Bryan O’Boyle North Port 6 5.3
Shemar Fleurissant Port Charlotte 10 4.9
Zach Babut North Port 10 4.7
Ben Via North Port 15 4.1
Bryson Thieme North Port 15 4.0