In past games, the Port Charlotte High girls basketball team wasn’t always able to get the trap they wanted defensively. So against North Fort Myers on Tuesday, they tried a new scheme and it worked just as planned.
After forcing just three turnovers in the first quarter prior to making the switch, the Lady Pirates forced the Red Knights into 24 turnovers over the final three quarters en route to a 50-34 win to open the new year.
“We wanted to do something just to slow them down from pressing the ball up the court fast,” Port Charlotte coach Mike Progl said. “We wanted them to have to make a quick decision and that’s what it really came down to.”
Progl put four girls up on the inbounds pass with one back with hopes of keeping all players in front on them, forcing multiple passes.
The scheme restricted North Fort Myers to making multiple short passes up the court, putting the ball into the hands of players that might not be used to handling it.
“If you have a good group of guards you should be able to rotate the ball 9, 10, 12 passes and not have an issue,” Progl said. “It’s when you get it into the posts’ hands, they’re not use to making those types of passes. We just allowed them to get the ball into someone else’s hands.”
Port Charlotte got off to a sluggish start and hit just 4 of 14 shots while allowing the Red Knights to score eight second-chance points in the opening quarter. The final shot of the quarter came from sophomore Sade Romain, who hit a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer. She finished with a team-high 15.
Once the defensive adjustment was made, the offense benefitted. After North Fort Myers scored the opening points of the second quarter, the Lady Pirates outscored the Red Knights 11-4 to finish the half.
North Fort Myers made its charge in the third quarter. With the help of some Pirate turnovers, the Red Knights went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to nine, but it didn’t last long.
Senior Alani Qualls hit a baseline jumper to quell the surge and on the next possession the Red Knights turned it over at halfcourt leading to a basket from Romain, which regained the momentum.
From there the Lady Pirates, who went 1-3 prior to winter break, closed the game out and regained some positive mojo for the final stretch of the season.
“We took a good week off to reboot,” Progl said. “The turnovers were down, which was huge. The missed layups were down, which was huge. They needed a little morale boast.
“To start off winning your first seven games, I think they were riding that win high. Then to go 1-3 in your next four, they needed to reboot. They needed that taste of working together and getting the victory.”
PORT CHARLOTTE 50,
NORTH FORT MYERS 34
PC — 9 12 15 14 — 50
NFM — 8 6 11 9 — 34
PC — Romain (15), Qualls (8), Henderson (7), Taylor (6), Huggins (6)
NFM — Mera (12), Morgan (8)