ENGLEWOOD — Tre Carroll and Ahmad Johnson each scored 16 points and the defense held off Lemon Bay as the Charlotte High School Boys basketball team rolled to a 50-40 victory in a chippy District 7A-10 matchup.
Charlotte (11-4, 6-1) stayed within a game of Port Charlotte, which cruised to victory over Ida Baker 65-34. Lemon Bay (9-6, 5-3) saw its slim hopes of the district’s top spot go up in smoke. The Mantas are right now looking at a No. 3 seed, with Cape Coral just behind them and a road game against the Seahawks on the horizon.
Charlotte coach Tom Massolio was happy for the district win on the road, and gave Lemon Bay credit for making the game close when it seemed Charlotte would run and hide.
“I give Lemon Bay credit for getting itself back in the game. I’m happy to get out of here with a win, but we have to keep our composure,” Massolio said.
The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated as Charlotte led by as much as 21 late in the third quarter before Massolio emptied his bench, only to see the Manta Rays cut the lead to six midway through the fourth quarter as the Tarpons struggled from the line, making just 9 of 17.
Once the starters returned, order was restored as Carroll hit a three and Johnson converted a three-point play to break it open.
“It was a good win, but I don’t think we played as hard as we could have. It was a lot closer than it should have been,” Johnson said. “As long as you win, that’s all that matters.”
Carroll and Johnson established their dominance early while Lemon Bay couldn’t buy a basket, hitting just one field goal in the first quarter as it fell behind 19-7.
Charlotte slowly built its lead to 33-16 at the half and by as much as 21 before Jacob Martinez and Leon Fleming brought the Manta Rays back against Charlotte’s reserves.
Composure was in short supply in the second half. Charlotte’s Lazaro Carballo was ejected after a tussle with Lemon Bay’s Gunar Morrill, while Lemon Bay showed its frustration during a rough night from the field.
“We lost our cool. We talked about this all week. I need tough guys who make big plays in those situations, not guys who talk,” Lemon Bay coach Sean Huber said. “We missed some shots, but that’s the game. It shouldn’t change the way you play. We did not execute our offense.”
Fleming led the Manta Rays with 15 points, while Martinez scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter. Makai Reaves had 10 for Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE 50, LEMON BAY 40
Charlotte 19 14 8 9 — 50
Lemon Bay 7 9 9 15 — 40
Charlotte (50): Tre Carroll 16, Ahmad Johnson 16, Makai Reaves 10, Gainer 6, Phanor 2. Totals: 18(5) 9-17 50.
Lemon Bay (40): Leon Fleming 15, Martinez 7, Morrill 5, Yale 5, Geisendorfer 4, Shamasian 2, Harvey 2. Totals: 12(2) 14-21 40.