The Gulf High girls basketball team has enjoyed its share of success the past few years, with postseason berths and region semifinals and finals appearances.
The last time the boys and girls teams both had records above .500 was in the 2005-06 season. That season, the boys finished 16-8 and the girls went 24-2. However, this season, the Bucs’ boys have been playing their best basketball of recent memory.
Last season, Gulf went 11-12 and didn’t pick up win No. 4 until the 11th game. The Buccaneers already have four wins through five games and continue to play better as the season goes along. Seniors Joey Nickerson, Danny Atkinson and Leigh Hollenbeck have contributed to Gulf’s recent turnaround. Despite Gulf losing four seniors from last season, including point guard Danny Rangel, Nickerson returned his 17.5 points per game average to lead a mostly upperclassmen group that features five seniors and three juniors.
The Buccaneers’ girls team also has played strong, with a record of 6-1, including a win against previously undefeated River Ridge, 47-38.
Injury slowing Pasco
The injury to shooting guard Allahon Marbra has hit the Pasco girls team hard. The Pirates, who are currently 2-4, only lost two games all of last season en route to a 23-2 record and a Class 5A region final berth.
The injury has hurt Pasco in the scoring department, as Marbra, a senior, averaged 15 points per game a year ago. That void has yet to be filled and has left the bulk of the pressure on point guard Brianca Roberts, guard Tranisha Harmon and center Ashley Webster. Marbra tore her anterior cruciate ligament during the offseason and may miss the entire regular season.
The Pirates have some tough contests coming up, with games against Brooksville Hernando, Fivay and Brooksville Nature Coast, which have a combined record of 12-4.
Mustangs boys, girls start out undefeated
The basketball teams at Mitchell High are a combined 7-0. The boys team has posted some impressive numbers through three blowout victories, as the club is averaging 61.7 points per game, shooting 64 percent from the field and grabbing 31 rebounds a contest.
On the girls side, the Mustangs have been more of a defensive-minded team and are averaging 52 points, nabbing nearly 80 steals and collecting 42.3 boards a game.
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.