Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

4A region basketball: Gulf 44, Citrus 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — Citrus came into Thursday's Class 4A, region quarterfinal at Gulf intent on muscling the Buccaneers out of the gym.

With four players in the starting lineup over 5-10, the Hurricanes owned a decided size advantage. Gulf, however, didn't back down from the challenge and, in the end, dished out a little punishment of its own.

Behind 22 points from senior guard Nicole Adams, the Bucs grabbed the lead early and held it throughout in a 44-31 victory to advance to the region semifinals for the second season in a row. The Buccaneers will travel to Land O'Lakes on Tuesday.

"We love the physical game. We'll take that every day over sitting back," Adams said. "…That just makes the game more intense. If you want to send us to the foul line, that's going to be a mistake."

Citrus' physical play caught up with the team in the fourth quarter as the Hurricanes were whistled for a technical foul and two intentional fouls. The Bucs (25-4) hit all six free throws to maintain their lead, which was 15 points entering the final stanza after Hannah Kotzen (14 points) drained a 3-pointer as the third quarter ended.

"(Citrus) played great defense for about a minute and 45 seconds," Gulf coach Mike Quarto said about Kotzen's back-breaking 3. "We run a play. They do a great job defensively. Hannah did her job. Her job was to scrape off the back side of the pick. She caught it and knocked it down."

Kotzen and Adams hit a pair of 3s in the first quarter to help Gulf build a six-point lead. The Bucs led by seven at halftime and went on a 7-0 run at the end of the third to pull away.

Defensively, Gulf didn't allow Citrus twins McKenzie and Morgan Brinson to get on track. McKenzie led the Hurricanes (20-7) in scoring but had just nine points. Morgan fouled out in the fourth having only scored three points.

"I'm really proud of my kids defensively to hold them to 31 points," Quarto said. "…I thought we did phenomenal battling for the rebounds."

Gulf went cold from 3-point range after hitting a couple early and finished 4-of-16 from behind the arc. The Bucs, though, got key buckets from Kotzen, Adams and Leighlani Paselio when they needed them. Plus, Gulf hit 14-of-17 from the free-throw line.

"I think our team is peaking," Adams said. "We're not there yet. We have not peaked. We're not at our best. I know we're going to get better each and every game."

4A region basketball: Gulf 44, Citrus 31 02/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011 11:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)