BOYS BASKETBALL: Wally Keller Classic area roundup

(This page will be updated throughout the day with full recaps from Port Charlotte’s, North Port’s, Lemon Bay’s and Charlotte’s games from Saturday.)


By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports

Port Charlotte's Shemar Fleurissant drives to the basket around SFCA's Caleb Catto during Saturday's game at the Wally Keller Classic (Sun Photo by Kat Godina).

Port Charlotte’s Shemar Fleurissant drives to the basket around SFCA’s Caleb Catto during Saturday’s game at the Wally Keller Classic (Sun Photo by Kat Godina).

PUNTA GORDA — One thing was evidently clear through the first three minutes of Port Charlotte High School’s matchup with Southwest Florida Christian Academy Saturday afternoon.

The Pirates were dealing with a bit of a hangover less than 24 hours removed from their second loss of the season to Charlotte.

But after a rocky start to the game, the trio of Sean Price, Shemar Fleurissant and Klayton Morris lit a fuse under the Pirates, who held on for a 60-51 over the Kings on the second day of the Wally Keller Classic at Charlotte High School.

Price scored a game-high 20 points while Morris chipped in with 12 and Fleurissant added 11. Jacob Tracey scored 17 points to lead the Kings, who saw their 14-game winning streak snapped.

The Pirates (12-2) led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter but saw the Kings (16-2) pull to within four points late before closing it out with their defense, something they failed to do against the Tarpons just a night earlier.

“I thought it was tough to come back from a game like last night and then come play a game in the middle of the day,” Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said. “But they came out and after the first three minutes of the game they kind of woke up a little bit and played basketball like we’re supposed.”

The Kings jumped out to an 8-2 lead before the Pirates woke up and closed the first quarter on a 14-0 run to take a 16-8 lead. The lead got cut to four points before Port Charlotte took a 29-21 lead into halftime.

The Pirates pushed the lead to 12 at the end of the third quarter and Price converted an old fashion three-point play to begin the fourth to give the Pirates a 48-33 lead. But missed free throws and turnovers allowed the Kings to creep back into the game and a basket by Jadrian Tracey pulled them to within 53-49 with less than two minutes to play.

After Tyler Perry went 1 for 2 from the foul line for the Pirates, Price had a chance to push the lead to seven but missed a layup on a fast break. Luckily for Price, Morris was there to clean him up, tipping in the rebound to give Port Charlotte a 56-49 lead and a big enough advantage to close out the win.

“Our defense set the tone in the first half and then we held on at the end,” Specht said. “We’ve got to do a better job of closing games out. Last night we didn’t do it and then tonight we didn’t really do it. We had a bigger cushion tonight than we did last night, so that helps, but we’ve got to do a much better job of closing the game out.”

SWFL Christian    8    13   12   18 — 51
Port Charlotte      16   13   16   15 — 60

Southwest Florida Christian (51): Jacob Tracey 17, Caleb Catto 15, Jadrian Tracey 12, Baker 7. Totals: 18 (3) 12-19 51.
Port Charlotte (60): Sean Price 20, Klayton Morris 12, Shemar Fleurissant 11, Johnson 8, Gainey 6, Romero 2, Perry 1. Totals: 20 (5) 15-26 60.


By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

North Port's Bryan O'Boyle tries to go over Golden Gate's Justenley Philippe during Saturday's game at the Wally Keller Classic (Sun Photo by Kat Godina).

North Port’s Bryan O’Boyle tries to go over Golden Gate’s Justenley Philippe during Saturday’s game at the Wally Keller Classic (Sun Photo by Kat Godina).

PUNTA GORDA — The North Port High School boys basketball team are 18 games into the season and just now at full capacity.

Thanks for a host of different injuries throughout the season, the Bobcats hadn’t played a game with their whole roster healthy until Friday.

North Port won that game on Friday, and then came back the next day for a 74-65 victory over Golden Gate, in large part due to some of those previously injured players.

“We looked good in the preseason, and we’ve played very well short-handed. There’s no excuses at all. It’s next player up with this team,” North Port coach Ryan Power said.

“I think getting to this point as successful as we’ve been has really relied on our defensive effort. On offense, a shot is going to be in or out, but defensively you can be there every night, and that’s what we’ve tried to emphasize with these guys.”

Bryan O’Boyle, who missed the first few weeks of the season with a broken wrist, has been slowly getting back to full strength since his return, and dominated on Saturday with a game-high 21 points.

“It was pretty tough,” O’Boyle said of handling the broken wrist. “I was messing around, playing pick-up basketball when I broke it. I knew my teammates would have my back.”

O’Boyle hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter, as the Titans’ style of play forced the Bobcats to change up their pregame plan. Golden Gate drilled five 3-pointers in the first quarter, scoring 15 of their 17 points from downtown.

The Bobcats (12-6), capable of shooting with any team, changed the plan, and matched the Titans (12-7) shot for shot.

“Our original goal after looking at the game tape was to get to the rim as much as possible,” Power said. “When they leave our shooters open, our guys have the confidence to take those shots, and luckily for us, they stepped up and knocked down multiple three’s there in the first quarter to give us a lead.”

Saturday’s game was only the second game back for Brandon Graff, who had been missing some time with a lower back injury. The guard helped distribute the ball for North Port, finishing with a game-high six assists.

As the 3-pointers started to go dry for Golden Gate, North Port continued to shoot well, extending its lead to as much as 14 points in the fourth quarter.

North Port totaled 21 assists as a team and made 11 shots from beyond the arc, compared to only the eight Golden Gate ended up with.

Zach Babut had a well-rounded game with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Bryson Thieme scored nine points. Ben Via and Gene Oliver each totaled eight points. Via also had four rebounds and a pair of blocks.

The 21 points for O’Boyle is his second-best total in the Wally Keller Classic. He scored 28 against Mariner last year. North Port is now 5-5 all-time in the Wally Keller Classic.

Golden Gate   17   18   12   18   —   65
North Port      26   18   16   14   —   74

Golden Gate (65): James Harris 19, Orrington Hamilton 15, Jordan Bronson 12, Justenley Philippe 8, Claudin Cherelus 8, Ryan Chlebek 3, Ariel Pasadas 2. Totals: 27(8) 3-8 65.
North Port (74): Bryan O’Boyle 21, Zach Babut 11, Thieme 9, Oliver 8, Via 8, Cohen 7, Baker 5, Graff 3, Allen 2. Totals: 28(11) 7-11 74.


By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports

Lemon Bay's Luke Morrill drives to the basket against Cambridge Christian's Chance Jackson on Saturday night in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by John Kersten).

Lemon Bay’s Luke Morrill drives to the basket against Cambridge Christian’s Chance Jackson on Saturday night in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by John Kersten).

PUNTA GORDA — The plan was to feed the post, but the Manta Rays failed to execute it for the first half against the Lancers, digging themselves too big of a hole to climb out of.

Despite getting 21points from Keegan Wyman and a double-double from Hayden Wolff (16 points, 11 rebounds), Lemon Bay High School fell to Cambridge Christian 84-72 on the final day of the Wally Keller Classic at Charlotte High School. Jaylin Jackson scored a game-high 22 points —12 on 3-pointers — to lead the Lancers, who made a total of 14 shots from beyond in the arc.

Chance Jackson made six of those 3-pointers for the Lancers (11-5) and finished with 19 points while Darryl Mercer added 14 in the win. The Manta Rays (10-7) entered the game shooting over 50 percent from three but made just three 3-pointers on the night.

“Our game plan was to feed it in the post early and often. That’s not what happened and then we got into a shootout with a team that wants to shoot-it-out and I think that was not a good decision on our part,” Lemon Bay coach Sean Huber said.

The Lancers led by as many 16 in the first half but saw their lead trimmed to just four in the third quarter as the Manta Rays started following Huber’s instructions. Lemon Bay went straight to Wolff down low to start the second half and the sophomore opened with two free throws and a bucket to cut Cambridge Christian’s 12-point halftime lead down to 41-33.

With the score later 47-37 in the third, Wolff scored another bucket in the post and Wyman and Luke Morrill followed with two more baskets to pull Lemon Bay to within four. But that was as close as the Manta Rays would get as the Lancers responded with a 9-0 run, including two 3-pointers by Chance Jackson, before Morrill made a layup to send Lemon Bay into the fourth trailing 56-45.

“I just don’t know why it took us two quarters to go to the game plan,” Huber said. “It’s a battle. We still have to keep reminding ourselves where we are from a year standpoint. We’ve got a bunch of juniors playing, playing a bunch of minutes and who haven’t been in as many wars, especially on back-to-back nights.”

“We’re Jekyll and Hyde sometimes, literally between quarters. Like, give me the guys who played in the third quarter.”

Wolff opened the fourth with a layup to trim the deficit back to single digits but Jackson responded with another 3-pointer and the Lancers led by double digits the rest of the game.

Jake Comer scored 10 points and Morrill added 12 off the bench for Lemon Bay.


Cambridge Chr.     23       18       15       28 — 84
Lemon Bay           13       16       16       27 — 72

Cambridge Christian (84): Jaylin Jackson 22, Chance Jackson 19, Darryl Mercer 14, Watkins 9, Hickman 8, Powell 7, Carter 3, Krueger 2. Totals: 27 (14) 16-26 84.
Lemon Bay (72): Keegan Wyman 21, Hayden Wolff 16, Luke Morrill 12, Jake Comer 10, Caron 6, Huber 4, Reid 2, Fleming 1. Totals: 26 (3) 17-25 72.


By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

Charlotte's Will Batts gets free for a lay up against Fort Myers on Saturday night in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by John Kersten).

Charlotte’s Will Batts gets free for a lay up against Fort Myers on Saturday night in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by John Kersten).

PUNTA GORDA — After decades of playing against each other, there are few secrets between the Charlotte High School boys basketball team and Fort Myers.

They both know the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They know which player to guard tight and which to give some space to.

With all the familiarity, it has become an advantage to the defense, which was evident Saturday night as the Green Wave slightly edged out the Tarpons for a low-scoring 43-41 win in the final game of the Wally Keller Classic.

“Both teams know each other really, really well,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “Both coaches know each other. Getting shots out there wasn’t easy tonight. It was a tough battle. In some way, we always play each other, so it wasn’t unexpected.”

Fort Myers’ Nick Gentleman missed a free throw with a tick under 20 seconds remaining in the game, meaning Charlotte needed just a two-point field goal for the tie to force overtime. On the ensuing Tarpon drive, after a timeout and a loose-ball scrum, which Charlotte fought hard to retain possession, a play was set up which ended with a lay-up attempt for Jake Haas as time expired.

As Haas went up for the lay-up, Gentleman redeemed his missed free throw by rejecting Haas’ shot to preserve the victory.

Haas was the Tarpons’ offense early in the game. He began the night with three consecutive 3-pointers to give his team an early 9-3 lead. He ended with 12 points and four rebounds.

Ahmad Johnson was once again the leading scorer for Charlotte, scoring 17 points for the second night in a row. He also had 12 rebounds.

Johnson’s four free throws in the third quarter were the only points the Tarpons scored that period, as they were unable to convert a field goal in a low-scoring 5-4 quarter.

“We didn’t do a good job tonight of getting to the basket as much as we needed to,” Massolio said. “We had some costly turnovers, I thought. We didn’t take very good care of the ball.”

The Tarpons (8-8) were able to bring a tie game of 31-31 into halftime, but never led in the second half.

Trevor Bokon’s biggest impact came on defense, specifically with 1:14 remaining when he forced a Green Wave (11-5) turnover on a traveling call. Spencer Ingle scored his only points of the night on the next possession for the Tarpons, when he scooped up an offensive rebound and put it back to bring the score to 43-41.

Fort Myers made 16 field goals in the game, 10 of which came on a 3-pointer. T.J. Prather hit a game-high four 3-pointers for all 12 points. Gentleman ended with nine points and nine blocks.

Charlotte falls to 13-8 all-time in its host shootout. Fort Myers improved its Wally-Keller-Classic-best win percentage (minimum 10 games played), moving to 8-3.

Fort Myers   12   14   5   11   —   43
Charlotte      14   13   4   10   —   41

Fort Myers (43): John Coleus 15, T.J. Prather 12, Gentleman 9, Brandon Luttrell 5, Brady Luttrell 2. Totals: 16(10) 1-3 43.
Charlotte (41): Ahmad Johnson 17, Jake Haas 12, Batts 6, Grant 4, Ingle 2. Totals: 14(3) 10-14 41.

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