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Bucs sloppy, but effective

Craig Pridemore leads Gulf to a 59-45 victory against Land O'Lakes.

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 9, 2002

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Gulf coach Steve Feldman said he couldn't get a read on his team heading into Tuesday's game with Land O'Lakes. He couldn't tell if his Bucs were pumped for the Gators, as they should have been. The Bucs made Feldman wait 2 minutes before pulling away from visiting Land O'Lakes, eventually running off 13 consecutive points to open up a 20-5 lead early in the second quarter. Gulf never let the Gators pull any closer than nine points in the 59-45 win.

However, Gulf (13-2 overall, 7-0 in Class 4A, District 8) did little to reassure its coach during the win. The Bucs turned the ball over 27 times.

"It was a little bit sloppy. I will say that," Feldman said. "I kept waiting for that Land O'Lakes run but it never came."

Gulf's Craig Pridemore provided most of the offensive punch. Pridemore finished with a game-high 21 points. He also added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks.

"He was so far in my doghouse over the summer that I wouldn't even let him play with us in the summer league. He had gone out as a junior and we dismissed him from the team after six games because of a bad attitude," Feldman said of Pridemore. "I tell you what, since tryouts, he has taken the position and hasn't let go. We wouldn't be 13-2 without Craig Pridemore."

Pridemore was coming off a monster game against Hudson on Friday, when he pulled down 27 rebounds, apparently breaking Tom Huey's 1968 school mark of 25. Feldman is still looking at Friday's tape to verify Pridemore's total.

Meanwhile, Land O'Lakes (6-10, 3-5) struggled in all areas.

The Gators committed 26 turnovers and shot 34 percent from the field. Land O'Lakes was especially poor from 3-point range, hitting two of 22 shots.

"Gulf came out real hard on us and made us do stupid stuff," Land O'Lakes coach Dave Puhalski said. "In the third quarter, we tried to get back in it, but we committed four turnovers on our first four possessions."

Logan Payne and Drew Weatherford led the Gators on offense. Payne scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half while Weatherford added 12 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals.

Gulf's Lytsz Diometre had 12 points and Trent Kennison added 12 points, 4 assists and 3 steals.

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