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Bound for the Finals

Chipola forward ends a remarkable day with effort play

By Doug Hanna

The Hutchinson News



Chipola forward Jamarcus Ellis filled up the stat sheet Wednesday night. But his biggest play did not show up on paper.

With Chipola leading by three with 24 seconds left, Eddie Barrios missed a free throw. Ellis blew by Southern Idaho center Artsiom Parakhouski, skied above the rim, and tipped the ball back to Barrios.

"I felt that if I get in there and give it everything I've got, I can get a hand on it," Ellis said. "That's what happened."

Barrios was fouled, made two free throws and put the game out of reach.

That was just the end of Ellis's game.

Ellis scored 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and Chipola closed the game on an 12-5 spurt as Chipola defeated Southern Idaho 96-90.

"Come to the playoffs, toward the end of the season, coaches were dragging me back in the gym to make me work on my weaknesses," Ellis said. "Right now, it's paying off."

The win advances Chipola to the championship game for the first time since 1974.

"We're trying to do something no (Chipola) team has ever done, and that is to win a national championship," Chipola coach Greg Heair said.

DeAndre Thomas scored 16 points and Johnnie Harris added 15 points for the Indians, who shot 51 percent from the field.

"What can I say about these sophomores?" Heiar said. "They took us on their back and carried us."

Chipola scored on its first six possessions of the second half, turning an 8-point lead into a 16-point lead with 17:22 to go. But the Indians knew the lead was anything but safe.

"When we go up 11 or 12 points, we start acting like the game is over," Ellis said. "Coach talked to us about executing and playing hard on defense."

Southern Idaho drained three 3-pointers, two by backup point guard Adris Deleon, as part of an 18-4 run that slashed the lead to two.

"We just had to make the plays to try to win the game," Deleon said. "We just had to leave it on the court."

The two teams looked for a knockout blow in the middle of the half. Chipola threw an alley-oop to Harris. Southern Idaho answered with a 3-point play from Juan Pattillo. Chipola beat the 35-second clock with a layup. Southern Idaho drained a 3-pointer.

"The intensity was tremendous," Southern Idaho coach Barret Peery said. "It was a war. We believed we would have a chance to win the game."

But when crunch time came, Chipola's size won out. Ellis scored eight points in the final five minutes and Harris added five in the last two, all after offensive rebounds.

"It came down to rebounding," Harris said. "We were too tough for that to get us. We had to score."

Down 90-88, Southern Idaho had a chance to tie in the final minute. Kelvin Davis, who finished with 19 points, took the ball in low post. He tried to pivot through traffic, but his off-balanced jumper clanged off the rim and Ellis grabbed the rebound.

Southern Idaho fouled with 24 seconds left. Berrios made the first and missed the second, but thanks to Ellis's tip, grabbed the rebound. Berrios's next two free throws pushed the lead to five.

Terry Fields had a 3-point play opportunity to cut the lead to two with 16 seconds left, but he missed the free throw.. Harris grabbed the rebound and made one of two free throws to push the lead back to four.

Ellis made two free throws to close out the game.

"It came down to who wanted it more," Ellis said. "No matter what happens, if you work hard, get the hustle plays, the game will come easier."

Southern Idaho had 28 offensive rebounds but shot 64 percent from the free throw line, 36 percent from the field.

Davis had a highlight-reel dunk in the first half when he caught a rebound in the lane with his right hand and dunked it in the same motion.

"It came off the rim right, and I just dunked it," Davis said. "It was nothing special."

Chipola will play Midland at 8 p.m. for the national championship.



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