Absence tough on Houston and team
WESLEY CHAPEL - Shantel Houston may not have been around, but that didn't mean she wasn't influential. The Wesley Chapel senior guard is expected to be the class valedictorian this spring. She missed a pair of games last week as she was visiting prospective colleges. The Wildcats desperately missed her, losing a game to Academy of The Holy Names and going to overtime in a win against Hudson. "I missed them, too," Houston said of not being able to play with her teammates. Houston learned via text message of the sudden slump Wesley Chapel was in without her. Being the leader she is, Houston took charge as best she could."I heard everything, and I was kind of disappointed," Houston said. "I know we can play better than I heard we were playing. They could have played much better." With a stern look on her face, Houston said, "I sent out some stern text messages." Season's over Gulf will host the girls basketball Class 4A-District 7 tournament this week. It appeared that the second-seeded Buccaneers would have to win three games to win the district crown. However, fate smiled on Gulf, but frowned upon Anclote. Gulf will receive a bye as a result of Anclote pulling out of the district tournament. The school alerted other coaches in the district that Anclote didn't have enough players to participate in the district tournament. That means Anclote's season is over. To fill the gap, Hudson is the No. 3 seed and will play sixth-seeded Pasco on Tuesday. Gulf will face the winner Friday, and the district title game is set for Saturday. The flip side Gulf wasn't so lucky as the week began. Buccaneers coach Mike Quarto traveled to watch Nature Coast play at Wesley Chapel on Monday night. He wasn't there for fun, but he hadn't planned to go to scout the Wildcats. He was there for a flip of a coin. Wesley Chapel and Gulf had split their pair of games this season. Since neither team had lost another district game - although Wesley Chapel came close in an overtime win against Hudson last week - the winner of the district would be determined by a coin flip. After the Wildcats polished off the Sharks, Wesley Chapel coach Karim Nohra and Quarto flipped a quarter on the basketball floor. Wesley Chapel won the coin flip and was given the No. 1 seed.