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HUDSON — For an entire offseason, Pasco coach Troy Moore harped on his team about focusing on district play and finally overtaking Gulf.
With a dominant 63-36 win over Fivay on Tuesday to kick off their Class 5A, District 8 schedule, the Pirates seem as zeroed in as ever.
No one can blame Moore for his message. Pasco (3-1) lost only four games last season — all to Gulf. The Buccaneers beat them twice in the regular season, once in the district final and finally in the second round of the state playoffs, each time by at least 11 points.
“(The girls) want to be competitive in the district,” Moore said. “This year, we’re focused on being there in the second half of games and the second half of the season.”
The return of most its core roster has the Pirates believing this season, and for good reason. The backcourt combination of Brianca Roberts (18 points, six assists, three steals) and Allahon Marbra (22 points, four assists, six steals) have been on a tear, and their aggressive style of play overwhelmed the Falcons (2-2).
“Our girls are so unselfish,” Moore said. “It’s never to the point where anyone’s trying to force anything. We ride the hot hand.”
Fivay was in the bonus in the first quarter, but shooting only 5-for-18 at the line in the first half the Falcons were unable to cash in. Even Alicia Artley, who came in averaging 76 percent from the stripe, went only 2-for-7 in that span.
Artley (17 points, 13 rebounds) was the focal point of Moore’s defensive plan as well. Putting double teams on the forward to force her away from the paint, he held her to five first-half points. Coming into the contest averaging 17 points and 16 rebounds, Artley was able to get more going in the second half, but by then it was too late.
The improvement of Pasco’s young post players impressed Moore. Sophomore forward Tranisha Harmon (eight points, 10 rebounds) did a solid job of assisting junior Ashley Webster (six points, seven rebounds) in the paint before fouling out late.