PORT CHARLOTTE – All anyone needs to know about Lemon Bay this season was summed up by Mantas coach Sean Huber following their 65-26 win at Community Christian on Monday.

“Coaches always say, ‘they play for each other’ but these guys, they do,” Huber said. “They don’t care who gets it. They have as much fun watching somebody else have success as they do themselves, even when they struggle.”

Every player on the Mantas’ active roster played and scored against the injury-depleted Mustangs, partly by design, partly by game flow. The Mantas opened the game by forcing Mustang turnovers on six of their first eight possessions and raced to a 14-0 lead.

Lemon Bay led 16-4 after the first quarter and 31-8 by halftime. The Mustangs played their best in the third quarter. So did the Mantas. Lemon Bay continued to expand its lead until Collin Corrigan’s bucket to open the fourth quarter triggered the running clock with the Mantas leading, 54-19.

Lemon Bay emptied its bench at that point and the Mantas were vocal in support of the reserves and even approved of a move to the basket by Community Christian’s Beaux Robinson.

The Mantas, who were coming off a season-opening loss at Parrish, had almost their entire roster available on Monday night. The only unavailable player was Jace Huber, who is still about a week away with a leg injury.

In all, 14 players hit the floor for Lemon Bay and when Jackson Benedict got a bucket under the basket at the 3:18 mark of the fourth quarter, all 14 had scored.

“We’re almost there,” Huber said. “Everybody was here today, suited up for the first time, so that was fun.”

Community Christian had already lost several key players to transfers when their best post player, Aeron Baker, told Mustangs coach Kurt Taylor the ankle injury he had suffered at the end of last season was too severe for him to return this season.

Then during the Lemon Bay Preseason Tipoff, the Mustangs lost Lucas Rivera to a fractured ankle. Community Christian is now scrambling to find someone to step up and take pressure off their lone remaining go-to player, Dalton Craft.

Russ Serb led Community Christian with eight points. Craft added six.

With everyone scoring for the Mantas, no player reached double figures. Gabe Arritt led all scorers with 9 points. Jacob Newcomb had 8 while Daniel Childs added 7 and embodied the Mantas’ team-wide commitment to defensive pressure.

“He’s as good a one-on-one defender as there is around here,” Huber said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. As an on-ball, one-on-one defender, he is very, very, very tenacious. He’s smart, crafty, he lulls you to sleep, super tough, dives on the floor for loose balls.

“If he’s starting to frustrate you, he can feel that,” Huber continued. “And it will get worse.”

Community Christian (0-1) will turn around and play host to The Classical Academy of Sarasota on Tuesday. The Mantas (1-1) will travel to Bishop Verot on Wednesday.


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