By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correpsondent
PORT CHARLOTTE — It was a special night for four seniors on the Port Charlotte boys basketball team, and they made the most of it.
Sean Price was his typical self, scoring 35 points in his final regular-season home game — 23 in the first half — as the Pirates cruised to a 67-47 win over South Fort Myers, their 20th of the season, on a festive Senior Night at the Pirate Coves.
Of course, the night wasn’t all about Price. It was also about Klayton Morris, Eligio Perez-Dunn and Elijah Johnson who will join that group of athletes who can say “Once a Pirate, always a Pirate.”
Port Charlotte coach Bill Specht said things worked out great despite the lighter mood as they kept the Wolfpack out of reach from the second quarter on.
“It’s their night, and it’s going to be a little sloppy, but the kids played hard and better defense in the second half,” Specht said. “They put a lot of work in, played hard and I’m proud they all scored.”
Specht has been through many of these senior nights and what he sees are boys who’ve become strong young men, both on the court and off.
“Those who come out of this program become a better person. These kids are and we have more basketball for them.”
The players would agree what four years in the program did for them, and they loved the opportunity to share it together.
“It’s been fun being on varsity. The kids who are here have improved so much and I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” Price said. “It was fun to have this group with me tonight and play our game together.”
“It was a bonding moment. I grew up with these people for four years. I learned to be more aggressive and hustle. I’m not the greatest shooter so I make up for it with hustle and second-chance points,” Johnson said.
There will be at least one more home game for these Pirates, but they will have a lot of great memories that will last a lifetime.
“I’ll miss the great people, all my friends, and I really enjoyed the guys,” Perez-Dunn said. “Coach is big on accountability, being tough and preparing us for life after school.”
Added Morris, who scored nine points and set up some dramatic Price dunks: “We’re just a bunch of brothers who love to play basketball. It’s a good community and good family. I’ll miss playing with the people I love.”
The game proved to be a good tune up for Tuesday’s district tournament first-round game at home against Ida Baker.
The Wolfpack (6-17) was very athletic and hung in to make it a respectable game despite constant foul trouble and shooting 11-of-28 from the line. Brandon Lewis led the Pack with 23 points.
PORT CHARLOTTE 67, S. FT. MYERS 47
South Fort Myers 10 14 10 13 — 47: Brandon Lewis 23, Jean-Francois 7, Sibert 6, Jackson 4, Jones 4, Eiland 3. Totals: 18 11-18.
Port Charlotte 15 22 13 17 — 67: Sean Price 35, Morris 9, Cleveland 9, Fleurissant 5, Johnson 3, Perry 2, Perez-Dunn 2, Gainey 2. Totals: 20 (7) 20-25.