By Josh Grant, Sun Correpondent
ENGLEWOOD — Down 10 points heading into the fourth quarter Friday night against Gateway Charter, Lemon Bay High School head coach Mike Young’s squad looked uninspired throughout much of the first three quarters.
The inspiration came exactly where it should come from in senior captain Breanna Nelson and junior Lauren Maheu as the duo combined to score 17 points, leading Lemon Bay to a 54-46 comeback victory.
“Through the first three quarters, we had two kids getting involved and three kids watching on defense,” Young said. “In the fourth quarter, everyone got involved.”
“We kept fighting, attacking and we didn’t quit.”
In the fourth quarter alone, Nelson scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, but more importantly, stole seven Griffins’ passes, including two in a 10-second sequence where Lemon Bay went from up one to up five for a 49-44 lead.
Nelson finished with 14 points, eight steals and five assists.
“(Breanna) definitely guards the toughest players on a nightly basis,” Young said. “She’s a senior, she wants to be in the game at that point and that’s exactly what you want from your senior captain.”
Nelson’s foe for much of the evening was Gateway Charter’s seventh-grade point guard, Addison Potts, who finished with a team-high 20 points, but just three in the second half.
“(Young) said that we had to be more aggressive and shut (Potts) down,” Nelson said. “We brought the intensity in the fourth quarter.”
Lemon Bay’s tenacious defense held Gateway Charter, which scored 16 points in the third, to just six points in the fourth quarter, all coming from the free-throw line.
For Maheu, Friday night was a coming out party for her shooting game as the junior admittedly had struggled in recent games.
Maheu finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including five three-pointers, four of which came in the second half.
“I was really surprised with my three-point shooting,” Maheu said. “Over the last couple of games, it has been really frustrating.”
“I’m glad today was a good shooting day.”
Junior forward Francesca Gallucci finished with a near double-double, nine points and nine rebounds, while senior Kelsey Hansen chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
Lemon Bay (9-9) has a big week ahead with two district game s— Island Coast at home on Tuesday and North Fort Myers at home on Friday, along with a non-district road test at Cardinal Mooney on Thursday.
Island Coast defeated Lemon Bay 57-35 on Dec. 6 and currently sits as the 3-seed in District 7A-10, with the Manta Rays right behind in the four spot with a couple of weeks before the district tournament.
“Tuesday night is a big game for us,” Young said. “We need to come out with confidence and get this victory so we can have home court advantage.”
LEMON BAY 54, GATEWAY CHARTER 46
Gateway Charter 16 8 16 6 — 46
Lemon Bay 7 13 10 24 — 54
Gateway Charter (46): Addison Potts 20, Tamia Battle 20, Young 4, Perry 2. Totals: 14 (4) 14-18 46.
Lemon Bay (54): Lauren Maheu 22, Breanna Nelson 14, Gallucci 9, Hansen 7, Mamalis 2. Totals: 21 (5) 7-17 54.