PORT CHARLOTTE — Despite coming into the game at 23-0, the Port Charlotte High School boys basketball game had a sense of urgency in its District 7A-10 semifinal matchup against Ida Baker.
And the Pirates certainly played like it. Tyler Perry scored 21 points in less than three quarters to lead four players in double figures and send the Pirates to the district final against Charlotte on Friday with a 70-25 victory Wednesday at the Pirate Cove.
Perry said the last thing he wanted to see happen was for his team to go one and out.
“We approach every game with a sense of urgency. We know if you lose, it’s over,” Perry said. “We have a special team and we don’t want this to end and the ultimate goal is to go as far as we can without losing.”
Perry get hot early for the Pirates, scoring 10 of his points in the first quarter to get his team out to a 20-3 lead after one quarter.
Meanwhile, Brandon Gainey turned the game into his own slam-dunk contest, scoring eight of his 10 points via throwdown as the rest of the Pirates exploded for 33 points in the second quarter for a 53-12 lead at the half to force a running clock in the second half.
Shemar Fleurissant was also able to score 12 points before head coach Kip Rhoden emptied the bench midway through the third quarter, which also did a stellar job on both sides of the ball.
Colby Schmutz scored 12 off the bench while Gerald Robinson added eight.
“The boys want to compete for a state title and they came with it. They understand this is the time of the year where you win or go home,” Rhoten said. “We work very hard and everyone has bought in.”
Blake Donnelly was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding Bulldogs (9-15), who led with nine points.
The pressure will be off somewhat on Friday as the Pirates clinched a berth in regionals. The question is whether they stay home or go on the road.
But there will still be that 800-pound object in the room in that 24-0 record.
Couple that with having their arch-rivals in their house, who have traditionally been rude guests in district finals, the pressure will definitely be on.
Perry said as far as he’s concerned, the team is 1-0, the regular season just a memory. Now, it’s a matter of surviving and advancing.
“Being undefeated wasn’t a goal, but now it has to be if we want to do what we want,” Perry said. “There’s a little pressure. We want to get through districts and regionals.”
PORT CHARLOTTE 70, IDA BAKER 25
Ida Baker 3 9 6 7 – 25
Port Charlotte 20 33 13 4 – 70
Ida Baker (25): Blake Donnelly 9, B. Aguirre 5, D, Aguirre 4, Troutt 4, Br. Donnelly 2, Bradwell 1. Totals: 7(1) 10-13 25.
Port Charlotte (70): Tyler Perry 21, Colby Schmutz 12, Shemar Fleurissant 12, Brandon Gainey 10, Robinson 8, Romero 3, Ulmaniec 2, Rogers 1, Arias 1. Totals: 24(9) 13-16 70.