A couple questions remain as prep basketball nears its midpoint.

When could Port Charlotte get its first loss? Are we surprised by how well Lemon Bay has played given the Mantas’ roster turnover? Can North Port find a groove? Does anyone actually read my columns?

Some questions are easier to answer than others.

Some answers could become clearer as six local teams converge in Englewood for the Ryon D. Provencher Holiday Shootout hosted by Lemon Bay High School.

The tournament runs Friday and Saturday with Lemon Bay, Venice, North Port, Community Christian, DeSoto County and Port Charlotte participating along with a few other schools outside the area.

So lets take a look at the field:

Lemon Bay lost almost its entire starting five and a few key bench players from last year’s district champion squad, but has been able to piece together a solid lineup and jump out to a 6-3 start.

Led by point guard Gunyr Morril and big man Caleb Geisendorfer, the Mantas have been able to mix up their play style and use quick drives and strong post play to their advantage. Playing on their home court for this tournament doesn’t hurt either.

Arguably the best team in the lineup will be the Pirates. They’re 10-0 with a convincing win over Charlotte. Riding the experience of five seniors, four who returned from last year, Port Charlotte hasn’t run into much trouble this year.

They can score from all over the court and from anyone one through five.

North Port and Venice have been somewhat lukewarm so far.

North Port lost two of the top players in the area in Bryan O’Boyle and Aaron Dismukes. The Bobcats are 5-4 with some strong games and some not so strong. They’re still trying to find their identity and what better time than a weekend shootout.

One of those strong games was against another tournament guest in Venice. The Indians are another team doing some soul searching with a 3-6 record.

Community Christian (4-7) and DeSoto (4-7) have both dealt with injuries this season, which has made their teams hard to read. The Mustangs are led by do-it-all forward Sam Battle, who consistently leads in points and rebounds.

In the one game of DeSoto’s that I’ve attended this year, senior forward Nate Maybell simply took over. He will certainly be one to watch for the Bulldogs.

The shootout kicks off with DeSoto vs. Lennard at 3 p.m. and will continue through Friday night. As always check the Sun as well as yousun.com for all scores and updates.

Email Jacob Hoag at Jhoag@sun-herald.com and follow him on Twitter @ByJacobHoag.

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