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Gulf girls back up tough look with tougher play

TRINITY — Gulf has a new advantage on the road.

The Buccaneers are rough, tough and capable of grinding up opponents with physical play.

Now they've added a menacing look.

Gulf principal Steve Knobl, a former Mitchell girls basketball coach, gets it. He gave the Buccaneers the go-ahead to wear all-black uniforms instead of the traditional greens.

The look is sleek and reeks of winning, right down to the prominently displayed Nike swoosh.

It's a visual edge for the wrecking ball of a team that pounded Mitchell for a 53-23 victory in Tuesday night's opener.

"We bring our hard hats and lunch boxes every night," Gulf coach Mike Quarto said. "We're going to get physical with you, and we're going to play."

Gulf unleashed full-court pressure and in-your-face defense that led to a 20-2 opening quarter.

The offensive centerpiece was senior Nicole Adams, who posted a game-high 28 points including 18 in the first half. She displayed various fine points of her game, from the opening jump shot in the paint to layups to 3-pointers.

Gulf also got eight points each from Kianna Mills and Asia Spencer.

The Bucs (1-0) rotated in plenty of players, and Quarto said he feels comfortable going as deep as a nine-girl rotation.

But the clear message was physical, scrappy, blue-collar play.

"We're pretty rough, rough around the edges," Adams said. "We take it seriously. Quarto instills in us we have to take every game like a battle.

"If we fool around and we come out all light and airy we're going to get pushed down. Every game is a battle."

Mitchell (1-2), which picked up its first win last week against River Ridge, got a team-high 10 points from Kate O'Conner and five points from Nina Argento.

Quarto, who hopes to challenge the Bucs with various tough nondistrict opponents, will take Gulf to Boca Ciega on Friday night.

The Pirates reached the Class 5A region final last season, and feature star guards Latavia Dempsey and Tamara Taylor.

"They have arguably the two best guards in the state with Dempsey and Taylor," Quarto said.

"I don't know if we can play the same style, but we'll do our best."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (813) 421-3886.

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Gulf girls back up tough look with tougher play 11/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 11:38pm]

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