WESLEY CHAPEL — In quite the far cry from the last time these teams played, Wiregrass Ranch ran past Gulf 62-43 Thursday. Bulls freshman Stephanie Brower had a breakout game, scoring 28 on 13-of-18 shooting.
That was double the point total of returning Pasco County player of the year Kayla Kivinski. Late last season Kivinski went off for 49 against the Bulls.
“We were hoping we could hold her down but no, didn’t expect it to that degree,” said Wiregrass coach John Gant, who employed a box-and-one on Kivinski.
Doing most of the shadowing was Trakyra Kidd. Until Kidd departed to a hearty ovation, Kivinski was held to 1-of-4 shooting in the second half.
And the flustering effect of the Bulls’ defense led to numerous fastbreak points, most dramatically during an 18-0 run in the third quarter. Gulf trailed by just 26-24 at the start of the stretch, which ended with 10 straight points on the break, two coming on a sensational passing play from Kidd to Andy Rodriguez to Brower.
“We’re a running team,” Brower smiled. She scored one more point than she had in three games combined coming in. Wiregrass (4-0) outscored Gulf 21-4 in the third quarter.
After committing 13 turnovers in the second quarter, the Bulls had only one in the third, a questionable travel call on Kidd that prevented a sixth straight fastbreak conversion. Wiregrass had eight assists in the quarter, three straight from Rodriguez, and Brower went 6-for-7 from the floor.
Wiregrass’ frontcourt duo had a big night, too. Senior forward Logan Seoane scored 14 while Amanda Melosky went for 13 points, 12 rebounds and six steals.
Jalena Hawkins had 17 for Gulf, 12 in the first half as the Bucs (1-1) battled back from down eight points to get within two. Kivinski had a chance to tie the game at halftime but she barely missed after a spin move — and then Brower scored and was fouled with two-tenths of a second left.