Community Christian’s 54-29 win Tuesday against DeSoto County gave the Mustangs a split at the two-day Lemon Bay Tip-Off Classic. Coming on the heels of a 68-47 loss a day earlier against Port Charlotte, Mustangs coach Kurt Taylor said his team is where he expected it to be.
“I saw about what I thought I’d see: We’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “I saw a lot more energy today. We played better. We need to do a better job of being strong with the ball and not allowing the ball to get deflected and we’ve got to finish better.”
The Mustangs are coming off a 16-12 season and a second-place finish in district play. A trio of guards from that team — junior Isaiah Levine, sophomore Drew Carter and junior Lucas Rivera — return from that team. Levine led all scorers on Tuesday with 21 points while Carter added 20.
“They played like freshmen and sophomores last season and I expect and need them to play at a much higher level this season,” Taylor said. “I think they will. They’re getting there. We don’t have a lot of depth.”
Community Christian jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and steadily pulled away from the Bulldogs throughout the remainder of the game. The Mustangs’ largest lead was the final score.
Chris Sanders led DeSoto County with 8 points. Nazir Gilchrist, Gershon Galloway and Keimar Richardson each hat 6 in the Bulldogs’ preseason opener.
Port Charlotte 61, Sarasota Christian 43
Alex Perry scored 16 points and Shawn Lefresne added 14 as the Pirates completed a sweep of its games at the Tip-Off Classic.
Port Charlotte raced to a 22-10 lead after one quarter and came out of halftime on fire as well, pushing its lead to 50-31.
The Pirates will return to Lemon Bay on Dec. 1 for their regular season debut against the Mantas.
Cardinal Mooney 58, Lemon Bay 45
The Mantas struggled from the field throughout the night in losing the Tip-Off Classic’s finale.
Cardinal Mooney led 32-22 at halftime and kept the undermanned Mantas at bay as the lead rarely dipped into single-digits.
Shea Cullum scored 13 points for Lemon Bay, which is missing six players who are still with the football team for its playoff run.