NEW PORT RICHEY — A layup by Tom Guglielmello pulled Land O’Lakes ahead for the first time and another layup took the Gators to the win Tuesday night.
“I think Tommy’s really MVP tonight,” coach Dave Puhalski said. “He was making those big shots.”
Land O’Lakes beat Gulf 48-43 after trailing the first three quarters. Guglielmello was certainly part of the Gators’ comeback. He had a game-high 30 points, making six shots from beyond the arc.
Land O’Lakes (11-9) and River Ridge (13-9) are both at 9-4 in Class 5A, District 8 — right behind top seed Tarpon Springs.
The Gators started slowly against Gulf and didn’t build momentum until the third quarter. They ended the first half with a seven-point deficit.
“We thought about how we were playing, and we knew we weren’t playing hard enough,” Guglielmello said.
Puhalski said the first few minutes of the second half showed the Gators could turn it around. The defense began frustrating the Bucs, giving Land O’Lakes time to catch up.
With just seconds remaining in the third quarter, Chris Turner hit a 3 that tied the score at 30, the first time Land O’Lakes closed the gap.
Gulf’s Edin Spijodic sank a 3 almost immediately after, and the Bucs ended the third still in the lead.
But they couldn’t maintain it in the final quarter. Land O’Lakes finally pulled ahead with less than three minutes left.
Land O’Lakes’ Ethan Weilant went up for a layup, but Andre Wilson swatted the ball away. Guglielmello got the rebound and subsequent layup to give the Gators their first lead, 40-38.
Gulf pulled ahead once more, but a combination of shots from the inside by Guglielmello and Brandon Dorsey secured the win.