NEW PORT RICHEY — Gulf coach Mike Quarto knows expectations this season are high and he is doing all he can to get his team noticed.
And for good reason.
The Buccaneers (1-0) return a good cast of talent from last year's 19-10 team and showcased it in front of Gulf's student body Tuesday afternoon in a 78-16 win over Sunlake at the Bever-Hicks Center.
The game was a rare in-school regular-season one that tipped off at 1:25 p.m. Quarto praised administration for allowing the game and hoped it would help his girls share the spotlight with the playoff-bound Bucs football team.
"This game was great for us and the student body," Quarto said. "…In my six years of coaching here we have never had that, and it was great to get the students involved."
With a packed house, the Buccaneers did not hold anything back in the early going, jumping to a 33-2 lead after the first quarter.
The young Seahawks (0-1) had trouble getting the ball past halfcourt, as the Bucs forced 34 first-half turnovers.
"We really wanted to be physical tonight with this team and I think we did a good job of that," Quarto said.
Sunlake had good performances from forward Megan Maynor (six points, eight rebounds) and guard Lindsey Robinson (six points, two rebounds).
Gulf's high-low tandem of sophomore Nicole Adams and junior Ridgewood transfer Kianna Mills set the tone. Both chipped in 28 points each and Mills snagged seven rebounds.
"It was amazing," Adams said. "The energy and the support from the students was great."