By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
With Port Charlotte High School’s crushing loss to Largo in overtime last Tuesday, basketball season came to an end in the area.
The Pirates were trying to reach their first regional final since 2001, and held the lead most of the night, but ultimately lost in overtime after star-forward Sean Price fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Still, it was a memorable year for Price and Port Charlotte. Price became the first player in program history to win four district titles and he scored his 1000th career point against Cape Coral on Dec. 13. Coach Bill Specht also won his 400th career game.
Port Charlotte had to defeat Charlotte in the District 7A-10 championship game for Price to achieve his accolade, a tough feat considering Charlotte won both regular-season meetings.
Charlotte also had a memorable season filled with injuries, making the playoffs as the district runner-up before losing to Largo.
North Port looked like a team primed for a playoff run, winning four of its last five games, but suffered a stunning loss in the regional quarterfinals to Palmetto. The Bobcats played that game without point guard Zach Babut, who had an emergency appendectomy the night before.
Lemon Bay was the only area team to miss the playoffs, finishing behind Port Charlotte and Charlotte in District 7A-10 after losing to North Fort Myers. But the Manta Rays are a young team returning most of their core next season and could be primed for a playoff run of their own.
RECORD: 14-13 overall, 9-3 in District 7A-10
DISTRICT FINISH: District 7A-10 runner-up, lost in regional quarterfinals
PROSPECTS FOR 2017-18: The Tarpons lose four seniors in Will Batts, Trevor Bokon, Jake Haas and Brian Hundt, but will still have a scary team next season. A lot of sophomores saw playing time this season, most notably Ahmad Johnson, who was third in the area in scoring at 13.5 points per game.
RECORD: 23-4 overall, 9-3 in District 7A-10
DISTRICT FINISH: District 7A-10 champions, lost in regional semifinals
PROSPECTS FOR 2017-18: The loss of Sean Price and his more than 22 points per game will obviously hurt, as will the departure of guard Klayton Morris, but rising junior Shemar Fleurrissant looks poised to take over for the Pirates. Fleurrissant progressively became more of a scorer for Port Charlotte this season, finishing the year averaging more than 12 points per game. He’s already proven he can show up in big games too, scoring 22 in the regional quarterfinal win over Boca Ciega and 23 in the regional semifinal loss to Largo.
RECORD: 15-11 overall, 6-6 in District 5A-11
DISTRICT FINISH: Fifth out of seven teams in District 7A-10
PROSPECTS FOR 2017-18: The Manta Rays are really poised for a good season next year as they only lose one main contributor in senior Jake Comer. They’ll return four starters in point guard Cade Huber, shooting guard Keegan Wyman and forwards Tyler Caron and Hayden Wolff. For a small school playing in Class 7A, they’ll have the potential to challenge for a district title.
RECORD: 16-9 overall, 4-0 in District
DISTRICT FINISH: District 8A-12 champions, lost in regional quarterfinals
PROSPECTS FOR 2017-18: The Bobcats will be very senior heavy next season as they only lose point guard Zach Babut from this year’s starting lineup. The expectation will certainly be to win another district title and make it past the regional quarterfinals. Leading scorer Bryan O’Boyle, Ben Via and Brandon Graff should all be poised for big senior seasons.
Player School GP PPG
Sean Price Port Charlotte 28 22.2
Keegan Wyman Lemon Bay 24 14.9
Ahmad Johnson Charlotte 27 13.8
Jake Comer Lemon Bay 25 12.3
Bryan O’Boyle North Port 16 12.3
Shemar Fleurissant Port Charlotte 27 12.4
Ben Via North Port 25 9.5
Tyler Caron Lemon Bay 24 9.4
Gene Oliver North Port 25 9.2
Mackengie Simon Charlotte 14 9.1
Jake Haas Charlotte 28 8.8
Zach Babut North Port 24 8.5
Will Batts Charlotte 26 8.5
Hayden Wolff Lemon Bay 24 8.5
Luke Morrill Lemon Bay 26 8.4
Player School GP RPG
Sean Price Port Charlotte 28 9.8
Mackengie Simon Charlotte 14 7.5
Will Batts Charlotte 26 7.3
Hayden Wolff Lemon Bay 24 7.2
Tyler Caron Lemon Bay 24 5.8
Ahmad Johnson Charlotte 27 5.8
Bryan O’Boyle North Port 16 5.6
Brandon Gainey Port Charlotte 26 4.6
Zach Babut North Port 24 4.6
Shemar Fleurissant Port Charlotte 27 4.5
Bryson Thieme North Port 25 4.2
Jake Haas Charlotte 28 4.0
Brandon Graff North Port 23 3.6
Ben Via North Port 25 3.6
Player School GP APG
Cade Huber Lemon Bay 25 3.9
Brandon Graff North Port 23 3.7
Zach Babut North Port 24 3.6
Sean Price Port Charlotte 28 3.5
Michael Reid Lemon Bay 26 3.2
Trevor Bokon Charlotte 24 2.8
Klayton Morris Port Charlotte 28 2.6
Bryan O’Boyle North Port 16 2.4
Gene Oliver North Port 25 1.9
Jayden Grant Charlotte 24 1.9
Shemar Fleurissant Port Charlotte 27 1.8
Kenny Scribner Charlotte 22 1.6