NEW PORT RICHEY -
In a game billed as potentially the preview to the Class 5A-District 8 title game, Pasco showed again that the road to being the best team runs through Dade City this season.
The Pirates put the clamps down on the Buccaneers, as Pasco shut out Gulf in the third quarter and was able to cruise the rest of the way in a 43-28 victory Tuesday night at the Bever Hicks Center.
"I'm impressed with my girls that we were able to play half-court basketball," Pasco coach Troy Moore said. "We were able to come down, run some sets and knock down some shots. It kind of made (Gulf) adjust to us instead of us adjusting to them."
Pasco's stingy defense was swarming early and often throughout the first quarter and kept Gulf's best player, Kayla Kivinski (12 points, eight rebounds), from finding her shot. After the teams were tied at 2, Pasco (17-0) went on a 10-0 run to end the opening period with a 12-2 lead. Gulf (16-6) worked its way back into the contest in the second quarter, with the Buccaneers getting within 18-13 before halftime.
The third quarter, though, would do Gulf in. Five turnovers and zero points hurt the Buccaneers, and on the other end, Pasco was able to add 10 points to its eight-point lead. Throughout the final period, Gulf tried valiantly to cut Pasco's lead down, but to no avail. Allahon Marbra led Pasco in scoring with 17 points and Brianca Roberts added 16 and six rebounds.
With the victory, Pasco locks up the No.
|1 seed in Class 5A-8, and Gulf will enter as the No. 2 seed. A potential rematch may be in both teams' future, but Buccaneers coach Claire Ennis sees the loss as another learning experience for her young squad.
"It's definitely moving forward," Ennis said. "It has been no secret that we have been short-handed all year. Pasco came out hot, played hard, and we knew they would. I thought we did a great job against them in the first quarter. We're such a young team, so we have nothing to be ashamed of."