LEHIGH ACRES — Sluggish from the start, the Charlotte High boys basketball team couldn’t get into much of a rhythm in their lone Lehigh New Year’s Shootout game on Saturday, falling to Seminole 67-49.
To make matter’s worse, star forward Ahmad Johnson went down with an apparent ankle injury and did not return.
“Terrible start, but that’s on us,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “We were not ready to play, not ready to go today.”
The poor start Massolio referred came in the opening five minutes where the Tarpons went 0 for 6 from the field with five turnovers, enabling Seminole to jump out to a 13-0 lead.
The Tarpons’ first basket came on a fade-away jumper from Johnson with 2:19 left in the quarter. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer stretched Seminole’s lead to 18-7.
Things wouldn’t get much better in the second quarter where the Tarpons were outscored 21-16. Charlotte, who gave up their highest point total in a half this season, had nine first-half turnovers while allowing six 3-pointers from the fluid Seminoles.
“Give them a lot of credit, they’re a good basketball team,” Massolio said. “A lot of team speed. We just buried ourselves there and were trying to catch up the whole game. That’s hard to do.”
The biggest blow came in the third quarter when Johnson came down awkwardly after a rebound. He instantly showed he was in a fair amount of pain and later returned to the bench with his ankle taped with ice.
Massolio didn’t elaborate on the severity of the injury.
The Tarpons oddly had their best stretch of the game following Johnson’s exit. Down 45-26 with 5:40 left in the third quarter, Charlotte embarked on a 10-0 run capped by an and-1 by Laz Carbello and cut the lead to nine.
“We were taking better shots, making shots” Massolio said. “It’s part of the game, you have to make shots. We just didn’t do a very good job at the start there and against a good team, you’re gonna struggle.”
But Seminole got back on track quickly and regained a strong lead in the fourth. Brian Brooks led the Seminoles with 12 points, but five players scored in double figures.
Leading the Tarpons was senior Makai Reaves with 14 followed by senior Kenny Scribner with 11. Five Tarpons finished with at least five rebounds.
The Tarpons will look to rebound as they travel to play Bishop Verot on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
SEMINOLE 67, CHARLOTTE 49
SHS 18 21 8 20 — 67
CHS 7 16 13 13 — 49
SHS — Brooks (12), Baker (11), Douglas (10)
CHS — Reaves (14), Scribner (11), Carbello (10)