By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Serenaded by chants of “overrated” from the opposing fans during his trips to the foul line, Sean Price was anything but that on Friday night.
The Port Charlotte High School senior led his team with a game-high 33 points on the way to a 70-51 District 7A-10 win over Lemon Bay.
Price had 10 points and a pair of assists in the fourth quarter to help cement the victory for the Pirates, who led by as many as 20 points in the final period.
“He started slow,” Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said. “I thought he did a good job distributing the ball in the first quarter. That was one of our goals. He has to trust his teammates.”
Even though he “started slow,” Price still managed eight points in the first quarter. He also finished the night with five rebounds and five assists.
Port Charlotte (15-3, 9-3) forced 18 Lemon Bay turnovers in the win while only giving the ball away nine times.
“Their defensive pressure was too much for us tonight,” Lemon Bay coach Sean Huber said. “I thought our defense was great in the second half, but when the lead started to grow in the third quarter it took us out of our game plan. We scored a lot more points when we did that, but we gave up a lot, too.”
The Pirate defense managed to hold Keegan Wyman, Luke Morrill and Jake Comer to just four combined 3-pointers. Wyman’s happened in the third quarter, Morrill’s didn’t fall until the fourth and Comer hit a pair in the even quarters.
“All of it is their pressure,” Huber said. “They put a lot of pressure on our shooters that causes us to take shots quicker than you want to.”
Wyman finished with 11 points. Morrill had six points and three assists and rebounds. Michael Reid had 10 points and four rebounds for the Manta Rays (14-9, 6-6).
“That’s what’s going to win a district championship. You have to play solid, good defense,” Specht said. “We did great first half against Cape Coral (in a loss on Tuesday), but then we let them go in the fourth quarter.”
Lemon Bay held a brief lead early in the second quarter at 11-10, but Port Charlotte went into halftime with a 27-20 lead. The Pirates outscored the Manta Rays 15-7 in the third quarter.
For Port Charlotte, Klayton Morris scattered 10 points and four assists. Shemar Fleurissant scored eight points with nine rebounds. Brandon Gainey scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter.
This was the final game of district play for both squads. With all teams completing the district-portion of their schedule, the win wraps up the No. 3 seed for Port Charlotte with No. 4 going to Lemon Bay. These two teams could potentially face off one more time in the championship game.
PORT CHARLOTTE 70, LEMON BAY 51
Lemon Bay 9 11 9 22 — 51
Port Charlotte 10 17 15 28 — 70
Lemon Bay (51): Keegan Wyman 11, Michael Reid 10, Huber 8, Wolff 8, Morrill 6, Comer 6, Brady 2. Totals: 15(6) 15-20 51.
Port Charlotte (70): Sean Price 33, Klayton Morris 10, Shemar Fleurissant 8, Gainey 6, Perez-Dunn 5, Perry 4, Romero 3, Cleveland 1. Totals: 24(3) 19-33 70.