PORT CHARLOTTE — With its game with arch-rival Charlotte on deck, there was no way coach Kip Rhoten was going to allow the Port Charlotte High School boys basketball team to look ahead to that game without first concentrating on North Port.
The Pirates put forth a great team effort on Tuesday, getting help from all 10 players on the roster, especially their bench.
Alex Perry came off the bench to score all eight of his points in the second quarter to blow the game open and lead the Pirates to a 44-20 victory at home in a non-district contest.
Rhoten said it was the second unit, led by Perry and Shawn Lefresne (seven points) that really got the team going in the second quarter when it was still close. Port Charlotte’s bench outscored North Port’s 19-6.
“They got us a couple layups that got us going, but you have to give the whole team credit. We held a high school team to the teens until the very end,” Rhoten said. “If you give up 20 to a high school team, you’re gonna win.”
Any talk about North Port being a trap game for the Pirates ahead of Friday’s game were quickly squashed by Rhoten.
“We’re so young that we’re learning as we go. If our guys think they’re better than what they are, they’re going to get a big L on Friday,” Rhoten said. “We have to scrap and fight, and for the most part tonight, we did.”
North Port (0-2) started out strong defensively, but wasn’t able to match the physicality of Port Charlotte as it allowed what limited offensive chances they had fall by the wayside as the Bobcats were outscored 24-5 in the second and third quarters, scoring one point the entire third quarter and just six field goals on the evening.
“We got the looks we wanted, but with the physicality we came up short. If we get the same kind of looks later in the season, we’re going to finish them,” North Port coach Ryan Power said. “We had opportunities, we forced turnovers and we didn’t capitalize.”
It was Perry who led the charge with several steals and easy baskets on the other end that helped turn the game into a rout for the Pirates (2-0).
“We set the tone with intensity and tried to play as hard as we can. I’m glad that tonight we could do that,” Perry said. “We try to make it as hard as possible for the other team to score, which is what we did holding them to 20 points.”
Gerald Robinson led all scorers with 10 points for Port Charlotte, which attempted just two free throws all night. North Port was led by Kevin Riley, who had seven points.