By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — When the Charlotte High School boys basketball team lacked energy early in Tuesday’s District 7A-10 game against Ida Baker, Kenny Scribner and Spencer Ingle took it upon themselves to provide a spark.
Scribner’s four steals and three assists in the second quarter allowed Ingle to score 13 points in the period, erasing what was an early deficit on the way to a crucial 61-47 win over the Bulldogs.
“No one really picked up energy, so I felt like someone needed to do it, and I wanted to help pick up the tempo of our team,” Ingle said.
The Tarpons’ lack of energy led to an early 14-6 hole after the first quarter, but 42 points in the middle two quarters allowed them to lead 48-35 by the end of the third quarter.
Scribner continued his tear into that third quarter, coming up with two more steals and seven points.
“First quarter was really rough. We had no energy at all,” Scribner said. “Last year on JV, a big role for me was to get steals and make plays on defense. So I kind of focused in the night before the game because I wanted to help the team. They just weren’t throwing good passes, so the steals were there.”
There was a direct correlation between team turnovers and the score on Tuesday. Charlotte had seven turnovers in the first quarter, but committed just seven more the rest of the night. On the flip side, the Bulldogs’ three turnovers in the first quarter turned into a total of 17 by the end of the game.
“I have to say, I think this is one of the best defensive teams I’ve ever had,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “And they’re going to continue to grow. If we get Mackengie (Simon) back, that’ll help us even more.”
The slow start for the Tarpons (10-8, 8-2) could have been troubling, considering they lost 70-66 to the Bulldogs (5-10, 3-7) earlier in the season, but to their credit they never panicked.
After being held to six points in the first quarter, they came back with 23 in the next. Ahmad Johnson quietly had 16 points and eight rebounds in the win, scoring eight of those points in the third quarter.
Ingle ended the night with 15 points. Scribner had 12 points, six steals and five assists – well above his season-average of 1.1.
With the win, Charlotte remains in a favorable position to win the regular season in the district and clinch the No. 1 seed for the tournament. Its two losses are tied with Port Charlotte and Cape Coral, but it holds a tiebreaker over the Pirates after beating them twice, and the Tarpons host the Seahawks on Thursday.
“It’s crucial,” Massolio said of these late-season district games.
“Especially what we’re playing for right now. Thursday night is probably the biggest game of the season. We know if we win Thursday, we play at least two home games (if we win the first) in the district tournament.”
CHARLOTTE 61, IDA BAKER 47
Ida Baker 14 9 13 12 — 47
Charlotte 6 23 19 13 — 61
Ida Baker (47): Navard Barnes 13, James Cuttino 13, Grafmyre 5, Palacios 5, Calderon 3, Carvajal 3, Cobb 3, John 3. Totals: 15(7) 10-13 47.
Charlotte (61): Ahmad Johnson 16, Spencer Ingle 15, Kenny Scribner 12, Batts 8, Haas 5, Reaves 5. Totals: 21(1) 18-23 61.