BOYS BASKETBALL: Charlotte holds on to advance to district championship, clinch berth to regionals

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

Charlotte's Will Batts scores against North Fort Myers during the district game on Wednesday in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).

Charlotte’s Will Batts scores against North Fort Myers during the district game on Wednesday in Punta Gorda (Sun Photo by Jennifer Bruno).

PUNTA GORDA — Will Batts has been extremely consistent all season.

Very rarely will he stray far, in either direction, from his eight points and seven rebounds per game.

Apparently, the Charlotte senior was saving his best for the playoffs, doubling his averages on the way to helping the Tarpons to a 60-51 District 7A-10 semifinal win over North Fort Myers Wednesday night.

“Knowing that extended my senior season, it’s good to know, but (we have) a big one on Friday,” Batts said. “It was win or go home, so I elevated my game and came out with more energy and intensity.”

The win sets up a district title match against rival Port Charlotte, which eliminated Cape Coral in the other semifinal. Charlotte (15-11) won both regular-season meetings this season.

Charlotte will host the game at 7 p.m. on Friday. Win or lose for either team, they have both punched their ticket to the regional tournament by advancing to the district championship.

“We’re just going to have to grind it out just like we did the last two games,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “That’s the way that game is. You have to get a bounce here or there. Somebody has to make a big play in a crucial situation. It’ll be a lot of fun.

Batts, a 6-foot-6 post  fought hard for a game-high 14 rebounds and 17 points. Six of those boards came off the offensive glass, which he turned into six putback points. “I told him right here in the locker room, it was the best game I’ve ever seen him play,”

Massolio said. “That was the Will we want every single night. He was determined, rebounded, put the ball in the basket and did a lot of great things.”

North Fort Myers (12-13) managed to tie the game at 42-42 with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, after trailing 30-20 at halftime.Makai Reaves drilled a pair of 3-pointers to give the Tarpons a 48-42 lead, at which point, the clock became the Red Knights’ enemy.

Both of Reaves’ shots came off a Trevor Bokon assist, who dished out nine on the night. Reaves totaled 11 points.

“When he’s dialed in, he’s tough. He gets us shots, and gets the ball where we need it to,” Massolio said of Bokon. “We definitely want the ball in his hands late because he can knock them down at the free-throw line, too.

The Red Knights jumped all over the Tarpons to open the second half, forcing three Charlotte turnovers in a row for six points. That was in the middle of a 14-2 run for North Fort Myers to make it 32-29 Charlotte late in the third quarter.

Josiah Alvarez scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the second half – all 15 on 3-pointers. Kimar Peacock at one time scored 11 of his team’s 22 points. He finished with 13.

Charlotte got off to a quick start, when the used an 11-2 run to eventually end the first quarter with a 15-7 lead. Jake Haas hit a pair of 3-pointers for his only points of the night in the first quarter. Spencer Ingle scored all six of his points in the second quarter.

The win for the Tarpons sets up a District title matchup against rival Port Charlotte. Charlotte has won both meetings this season.

“We’re just going to have to grind it out just like we did the last two games,” Massolio said. “That’s the way that game is. You have to get a bounce here or there. Somebody has to make a big play in a crucial situation. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Charlotte will host the game at 7 p.m. on Friday. Win or lose for either team, they have both punched their ticket to the regional tournament by advancing to the district championship.

CHARLOTTE 60, NORTH FORT MYERS 51
N Ft. Myers    7   13   16   15     51
Charlotte       15   15   9    21     60

North Fort Myers (51): Josiah Alvarez 15, Kimar Peacock 13, Gotay 7, Wilkins 6, Riggins 5, Harris 3, King 2. Totals: 19(9) 4-9 51.
Charlotte (60): Will Batts 17, Makai Reaves 11, Johnson 7, Haas 6, Ingle 6, Simon 4, Srcibner 3, Grant 2, Bokon 2. Totals: 22(7) 9-12 60

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