Bucs fall short in key district matchup

Pasco remains unbeaten in Class 4A-8 with 69-64 victory.

Published December 14, 2005

DADE CITY - Outsized and outmanned, Gulf packed its best punch.

How does a roster full of guards cut down an imposing interior? By firing 3-pointers, forcing turnovers and sneaking in one or two back-door cuts. That's how Gulf's nine-point deficit Tuesday at Pasco became a four-point lead in the fourth quarter.

The lead started slipping ... to two ... then one ... then, someone grab the Excedrin.

Buccaneers coach Steve Feldman shook his head at the buzzer and Gulf walked away with a 69-64 loss.

Pasco (6-2, 6-0 Class 4A, District 8) took command of the district while Gulf (6-4, 5-1) kept searching for answers after losing its third consecutive game.

Feldman walked away with at least one positive, knowing his team played virtually even with one of the county's best.

"We can't afford to go brain dead down the stretch," Feldman said. "We really looked like some sort of frontal lobotomy had been performed on us in the last couple minutes with our decision-making on the floor."

Gulf came out swinging in the first quarter with a 15-5 run after Nikola Stajic drained a 3-pointer for three of his team-high 18 points.

The Bucs hoped to spread the floor and beat Pasco with its perimeter offense.

The defensive strategy was containing Darrell Davis. But the county's scoring leader could only be contained for so long.

After managing just three points in the first quarter, Davis bullied his way to a game-high 28.

"We knew we'd have a tough game coming in," Pasco coach Poncho Broner said. "I thought it would be close. But we needed that. We haven't had a close game."

Pasco constructed a second-half lead with plenty of production from Davis, Demetrius Larry (10 points), Lance Roberts (10 points) and Ulyssee Bryant (nine points).

Gulf leaned on Anthony Jackson (16 points), Kirt Holt (10) and Stajic to mount a comeback. But Stajic fouled out with 6:08 remaining.

"He's one of our best offensive options," Feldman said. "We don't have any size, but he gives us whatever size we have. That's tough."

Contact Izzy Gould at 813 909-4612 or sportsjournalist@gmail.com