By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
CAPE CORAL — Both teams knew what was at stake on Tuesday between Cape Coral High School and Port Charlotte.
A win for either squad would essentially lock up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 7A-10 tournament. They entered Tuesday tied in the standings, and after four quarters of play, they were tied on the scoreboard.
But the Seahawks held strong in the extra period for a 67-57 win over the Pirates.
“The effort was there, no doubt,” Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said. “The first half was a defensive battle, and in the second half both teams loosened up a little more offensively.
“I told my kids: ‘we’ve lost three games and in all three games we lost our composure.’ We’re looking around for excuses instead of look at ourselves and saying maybe it’s us.”
Shemar Fleurissant hit a 3-pointer as time expired to send the game into overtime, but the Pirates were unable to convert a field goal in the final four minutes.
“It felt like we had a second chance,” Specht said. “That whole last four minutes (of the fourth quarter) it didn’t seem like we would. We were down four or down six, and then got some defensive stops. That’s a big shot for a sophomore.”
Fleurissant’s shot tied a game which had been dominated by Cape Coral’s Harwin Francois, who scored 22 points with the help of six 3-pointers, all of which came in the second half or overtime.
“He’s just confident right now,” Cape Coral coach Brandon Sensor said. “He probably worked the hardest of anyone on the team all offseason, and it’s coming through right now. It’s just pure confidence right now.”
The game featured 12 lead changes, as the two teams battled all night. Cape Coral (16-4, 9-2) led by as many as eight points in the third quarter, but Sean Price’s double-double helped close the gap.
Price scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half after being held without a point for the game’s first 15 minutes. Price fouled out early in overtime on a questionable offensive charge call, which impacted the Pirates (15-3, 8-3) down the stretch.
Price ended the night with 10 rebounds and five assists. In the third quarter, he scored or assisted all but two points in the third quarter.
The Seahawks were 6 of 8 from the free-throw line in overtime to help secure the victory. Brandon Alcide had 15 crucial points for Cape Coral.
Port Charlotte led 49-44 at one point in the fourth quarter, but a 10-0 run for the Seahawks gave them a lead which at the time felt insurmountable before Fleurissant’s buzzer-beater.
Fleurissant ended the night with 10 points. Brandon Gainey scored 16 points to go with four rebounds and two blocks.
CAPE CORAL 67, PORT CHARLOTTE 57
Port Charlotte 15 5 12 22 1 — 57
Cape Coral 12 9 17 18 11 — 67
Cape Coral(67): Harwin Francois 22, Brandon Alcide 15, Hyppolite 6, Gibson 6, Moreno 6, Markovich 5, Blissett 4, Bennett 3. Totals: 22(9) 14-21 67.
Port Charlotte (57): Sean Price 22, Brandon Gainey 16, Shemar Fleurrisant 10, Morris 5, Cleveland 1, Perry 1. Totals: 19(7) 12-23