By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
PORT CHARLOTTE – Sean Price and Shemar Fleurissant combined for 46 points as Port Charlotte rolled past Ida Baker, 77-38, in a Class 7A-District 10 matchup Friday night.
The Pirates started slow, and coach Bill Specht decided to call a timeout just two minutes into the game with the Bulldogs leading 5-2. Ida Baker was able to hang around for the rest of the first quarter, and the teams finished the period tied at 13.
“Our kids were trying to think too much at the offensive end of the court and not playing defense the way they’ve been taught. It’s going to come back and get us. I keep telling them that,” Specht said. “They didn’t come out for the game focused. They knew it was a huge game, because if we win the last three district games we can get the number one seed.”
Led by Fleurissant and Price, the Pirates pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring Ida Baker 22-10 to take a 35-23 lead at the half.
“We adjusted in the second quarter and went to half-court traps,” Specht said. “But we shouldn’t have to do that. Those are for special occasions where you need a big bucket or something. It kind of got us going to use it.
“I didn’t say much at halftime. They knew I was upset with the way they were playing on defense, so it was on them in the second half. They played a little better but there were still too many breakdowns defensively.”
The Pirates got their running game going in the third quarter. Price had 14 of his game-high 27 points as Port Charlotte scored 32 points in the period. The Bulldogs, who were missing leading scorer Devin Hanley, were unable to keep up. Specht was able to rest his starters for the entire fourth quarter and the Pirates scored the first two baskets of the quarter to usher in a running clock for the remainder of the game.
“Our kids are still not understanding that our defense leads to our offense,” Specht said. “Not the other way around. We’ve always played that way. But when you’re gambling and you’re out of position and not in the right spot, you’re not going to get those clean rebounds or those easy steals.”
Fleurissant finished with 19 points for Port Charlotte, while Navard Barnes, Christopher Palacios, and Ronny Calderon led Ida Baker (5-11, 3-8) with nine points apiece.
The Pirates improved to 15-2 overall and 8-2 in the district. Port Charlotte is tied for first place with Cape Coral, and the two teams will meet Tuesday night at the Seahawks’ gym with the number one seed for the district tournament at stake.
PORT CHARLOTTE 77, IDA BAKER 38
Baker 13 10 12 3 — 38
Port Charlotte 13 22 32 10 — 77
Ida Baker (38): Barnes 9, Palacios 9, Calderon 9, Cuttino 7, Grafmyre 2, Cobb 2. Totals: 13(3), 9-14, 38
Port Charlotte (77): Sean Price 27, Shemar Fleurissant 19, Morris 7, Gainey 7, Perry 5, Romero 4, Johnson 4, Cleveland 4. Totals: 29(3), 16-26, 77