Coming into the North Fort Myers Red Knights and Charlotte Fightin’ Tarpons first round district matchup Monday, one could look at the regular season matchups between the two boys basketball squads and know the Knights were going to have trouble keeping up with a talented Charlotte team.
The Tarpons outscored North Fort Myers 192-68 during the teams two matchups earlier in the year, and Charlotte had no trouble on their way to a 76-33 win in this contest, either.
Ahmad Johnson and Tre Carroll were again the big scorers on the night for Charlotte, with 22 and 20, respectively. But the big win was more than just two players accounting for nearly 60 percent of the scoring.
The all-around team effort even trickled down to freshman Keon Jones on Monday, as Tarpons coach Tom Massolio gave his younger players the run for the whole of the fourth quarter.
Johnson and Carroll did most of their damage in the first half as neither played a minute of fourth quarter basketball on Monday. Johnson impressed again on the offensive boards and Carroll’s length was a problem for North Fort Myers all night, all though Carroll did have an issue putting away two dunk attempts on the night.
“We want to be aggressive and attack the basket,” Massolio said about the missed dunk attempts. We obviously want the easy points but it’s hard to tell them to not be aggressive and go get that.”
Makai Reaves chipped in 13 points for Charlotte, to go along with five assists and a handful of steals. Tyrik Gainer turned in an impressive performance in multiple aspects of the game with six points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. Faustin Phanor added six rebounds and six blocks
“He was changing shots, blocking shots,” said Massolio of Phanor’s night. “He’s been doing a phenomenal job the last couple of weeks of doing that and he’s improving each and every game.”
The leading scorer for the Red Knights was senior shooting guard Caden Chisholm who had 14 points, 12 of them off three-pointers. North Fort Myers was held to just eight points in the second half after trailing 45-25 at halftime.
Massolio wasn’t happy with the way his team started defensively, but they held North to just 25 percent shooting from the field in the second half, and only allowed 33 field goal attempts on the night.
And despite the big win, Massolio said the team still has some areas that need improving, and they’ll spend Tuesday doing just that.
“We’re moving on but we still got some more work to do, we know that,” said Massolio. “We have to prepare tomorrow (Tuesday) and get ready for the next game.
We just got to keep improving, we can improve on some little things that we saw. We’ll watch it on tape a little bit and show it to the guys and improve after that.”
The Tarpons will take on Lemon Bay at home on Wednesday after the Mantas beat Island Coast in their first round matchup. Lemon Bay is coming off a District Championship last season in which they beat Charlotte 57-56 in the semifinals.
“We got to be ready, last year we slept and it cost us, so we got to be ready to go, put out-forth the effort and do what we got to do,” said Massolio.