Gulf girls basketball coach Mike Quarto said he is hopeful starting junior forward Leighlani Paselio will return to the Buccaneers' lineup next week.
"Cross my fingers, she's a big part of our team," Quarto said.
Paselio, who averages 14 points and seven rebounds for the 20-3 Buccaneers, injured her knee in a win over Ridgewood on Jan. 11. Paselio played two more games, thinking the injury was just a bruise, but when her knee didn't get any better, she had an MRI, which revealed a sprained ligament.
"She's got a brace on, and she's going to physical therapy," Quarto said.
With Paselio sidelined for the the Buccaneers' last three games, 5-foot-9 freshman Kayla Kivinski has stepped up according to Quarto. Kavinski pulled down 11 rebounds in a win over Anclote on Thursday.
"Kayla has really good range," Quarto said. "She handles the ball well and the last couple of games has really improved her rebounding."
Also, Quarto said 5-foot-11 senior Caitlin Corbitt should be available the next time the Buccaneers take the court. Corbitt missed three games with a sprained ankle. Corbitt averages five points and eight rebounds a game.