Karim Nohra was taken back by the timing of the news.
The Wesley Chapel coach learned earlier this week senior guard Shantel Houston would miss three games, two of them district matchups.
Houston told Nohra the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut had sent her a plane ticket to visit. She traveled by plane Wednesday night while the Wildcats suffered a 64-61 loss to the Academy of the Holy Names.
Nohra went with three freshmen in his starting lineup, and said he will maintain the lineup in practices after Houston returns. Houston is expected to return to the starting lineup next week.
Nohra's task will be finding a way to win without Houston, who leads the Wildcats in scoring and rebounds. Wesley Chapel is in the hunt for the Class 4A, District 7 top seed along with Gulf.