NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco prefers an up-tempo style, but that wasn’t happening Tuesday.
In a matchup of the top public school teams in the county, Gulf slowed the pace as much as possible. But it was not nearly enough to disrupt the Pirates’ bid for an undefeated regular season as Pasco won easily 43-28.
“With districts coming up we know most teams aren’t gonna let us play the ‘rip and run’ way that we like to,” said Pasco coach Troy Moore. “Tonight Gulf forced us into more of a halfcourt game, and I thought we played it very well.”
A nearly 12-minute scoreless span by Gulf, winner of seven straight, dismissed any chances the Bucs had of claiming the top seed for the District 5A-8 tournament. Pasco (17-0) rolled through the league with a 14-0 mark and will finish the regular season Friday at Mitchell.
Brianca Roberts and Allahon Marbra scored 18 of Pasco’s 21 first-half points, Marbra foiling the Buccaneers’ zone defense with three 3-point baskets in the half.
“I noticed they were giving me that shot, so I took it,” Marbra said. She entered the night having made just 12 3s.
Gulf’s patient offense resulted in plenty of good looks but not many makes. The Bucs (16-6) missed five layups in the first quarter and trailed 12-2. They pulled within 15-11 but Roberts and Marbra crushed that enthusiasm with back-to-back 3s for a 21-13 halftime lead.
While Gulf went scoreless in the third quarter, Pasco even got to enjoy a spell of three straight fastbreak baskets for a 31-13 advantage. Lyndsey Hetrick’s layup with 6:52 left ended Gulf’s drought, and the Bucs managed more points in the final quarter (15) than they had all game.
“Layups,” sighed Hetrick. “If we make those we have a chance to beat them.”
That chance could come in next week’s district finals. Fivay, which finished third, hosts the tourney starting Tuesday.
Marbra led Pasco with 17 points with Roberts getting 16. Tranisha Harmon added eight points and 10 rebounds. Kayla Kivinski had 14 points and nine boards to pace Gulf.
“The undefeated season, if it happens, great,” said Moore. “But our big thing is next week and districts. It’s all for naught if we lose then.”