Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tarpons Edge Pirates in Thriller | Charlotte Makes 15 Straight Free Throws to Edge Port Charlotte at Keller Classic

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Tarpons Edge Pirates in Thriller | Charlotte Makes 15 Straight Free Throws to Edge Port Charlotte at Keller Classic

Article excerpt

BOYS BASKETBALL WALLY KELLER CLASSIC

PUNTA GORDA -- In another chapter of the area's longest-running and perhaps best rivalry, the Charlotte-Port Charlotte boys basketball game went right down to the wire.

Again.

The Tarpons did the little things late, like making free throws, to pull out a victory over their cross-town rivals.

Charlotte did not make a basket for the final 7 minutes, 10 seconds of the game, but knocked down 15 straight free throws to hold off the Pirates, 51-48, in a Class 7A-District 10 game that was part of the Wally Keller Classic on Friday night in front of a standing-room-only gathering at Wally Keller Gymnasium.

It was the two teams' fifth meeting in the Wally Keller Classic with Port Charlotte taking the first four by a combined 25 points. None of the games have been decided by more than nine points.

Putting the Tarpons in the penalty with 12.3 seconds left in the third quarter, Charlotte (9-7, 6-2 in 7A-10) nailed 17 straight from the line, 15 in the fourth quarter.

"I knew coming into the year we are a really good free-throw

shooting team," Tarpons coach Tom Massolio said. "If you go to the basket, have a presence inside and score and get to the free- throw line, it's going to be tough.

"We talked about getting to the line and knocking them down and focusing."

The four biggest charity tosses came after Port Charlotte's Sean Price made two free throws with 2:39 remaining in regulation. Jayden Grant and Will Batts hit two each to break the deadlock, the last two with 2:10 left.

Sherman Fleurissant made a layup for the Pirates (11-2, 6-2 in 7A- 10) with 13.6 seconds left.

Trevor Bokon, close to being the team's all-time leading free- throw shooter percentage-wise, dropped in two more with 11.3 seconds left.

After Price, who led all scorers with 25 points, made a twisting layup with 4.2 seconds left, Bokon made one of two, leaving the door open for potential Port Charlotte heroics. …

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