NEW PORT RICHEY — As Gulf junior guard Nicole Adams accepted various gifts for becoming the fifth Buccaneer in school history to break the 1,000 point milestone Wednesday, her teammates knew she was under the weather and that they had to step up.
And the Buccaneers (7-1) did as senior forward Kianna Mills led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 61-21 victory over Mitchell on Wednesday night.
"Coach told me I had to step up if we wanted to go to states," Mills said.
The Mustangs (6-7) stayed within striking distance early in the second quarter, as they trailed only 16-8 with 7:32 before halftime. But Gulf went on a 13-5 spurt to go into halftime with a 29-13 lead, punctuated by a layup from Adams. She finished with 10 points.
"We came out kind of sluggish," Gulf coach Mike Quarto said, whose Buccaneers committed 19 turnovers. "This time of the year is different, and my kids didn't have their legs under them.
"But I was happy with our defensive intensity, and I think we just have to keep working at it offensively and find some continuity."
Gulf's defense clamped down in the second half and the Mustangs didn't do themselves any favors, turning over the ball 17 times after halftime and totaling 33 for the game.
"We played tough defense tonight, but you can't play that much defense and not have the basketball," Mitchell coach Jacob Tavo said.
Guard Katie O'Brien led the Mustangs with seven points.