Nothing was going right for the Charlotte boys basketball team in the district championship game against Fort Myers.
After gaining an early 15-11 lead, the Tarpons fell into a slump and were being outscored 21-4 in the second quarter.
Their star player, 6-foot-7 wing Tre Carroll, who had 12 points in the first quarter, knew he had to step up and try and will the team back into contention.
“What killed us was we were kind of playing into their game,” Carroll said. “It just wasn’t looking good, so I knew I had to take over right for the start. I just saw red.”
Carroll could score from virtually anywhere in the second half. He was playing some of his best basketball, scoring 33 of his school-record 48 points in the last two quarters.
But it wasn’t nearly enough as the Green Wave took the title with a 12-point victory.
“48 points in four quarters,” Charlotte coach Tom Massolio said. “He didn’t have a lot around him and he was just trying to will us to win. We had some opportunities, but we would’ve never been in that situation at all if it wasn’t for his play and what he was doing on the court. He doesn’t like to lose.”
Carroll had to carry the team on plenty of occasions, something he didn’t have to do with guys like Ahmad Johnson and Makai Reaves in the lineup last year.
Even so, Carroll knew when to step back and let John Gamble or Tyrik Gainer get hot. It’s a feel thing. He can sense when it’s time to takeover and when he needs to look for the feed.
“It’s just an instinct,” Carroll said. “I just know when to do it. You can’t really say it’s right or wrong, it’s just an instinct that you develop overtime. If I’m not doing a good job and someone else is doing a good job, I give the ball up to them.”
Carroll had somewhat of a breakout junior season, though he was the player to watch coming into the season. He averaged 24.4 points, a 10-point bump from his sophomore year, with 9.6 rebounds and also leading the team in assists. He also scored his 1,000th point, joining his mother in the Tarpon history books.
He was able to score in a variety of ways — either driving or pulling up — and has a difficult skill combination to defend.
“He can always score,” Massolio said. “He’s an over 60 percent shooter for his high school career. You’re talking about a kid that’s a matchup nightmare. If I’m coaching against him, I’m sending like two guys at him. The problem is, it’s a difficult thing when he can rebound off the glass and turn and go. How can you defend that?”
Carroll continues his ascent in the sport, picking up multiple Division I offers along the way, but he still feels he has more to prove.
As good as he is on his own, he credits most of his success to those who support him.
“We all had a great season, we loved being there, we loved practice,” Carroll said. “We were more of a family this year than any other year I’ve been at Charlotte. We really had that family environment. We have our little groups sometime, but we all got along.”