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Indians Clinch State Tournament Appearance


The #3 ranked Chipola College Indians clinched a state tournament appearance by defeating Gulf Coast on Wednesday evening 68-56. 


Holding now a three game advantage over third place Okaloosa-Walton, Chipola’s 9-1 Panhandle Conference record with just two games remaining ensures them of being one of the two conference representatives.


“This was one of our goals heading into the season,” said Chipola head coach Greg Heiar.  “It wasn’t a pretty win, but we’re happy that we’ll be playing in the tournament.”


The Indians, who are now 26-1 on the season, were sparked by sophomore JaMarcus Ellis’ fifth triple/double of the season.  The All-American candidate led Chipola with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.


“He (Ellis) sat for ten minutes in the second half,” said Heiar.  “But when he’s out on the floor, we’re a pretty good team.”


The Indians used a mixture of full court pressure and hearty half court defense to limit Gulf Coast to just 22 first half points, taking a 16 point advantage into the locker room.


The margin reached as many as 22 midway through the second half as Chipola built a 56-34 lead. 


Chipola would then score just two points during a sixteen possession stretch while committing seven turnovers, enabling Gulf Coast to cut the deficit to 60-48 with 2:43 remaining.


The Commodores would come within ten, but never closer as time ran out.


“We were complacent for a lot of the second half,” said Heiar.  “We had so many mental mistakes where we turned it over and it led to easy baskets for Gulf Cost.”


Chipola committed 26 turnovers on the evening.  That tied the season high from a December 30th game against Hillsborough.  The Indians average 16.5 turnovers on the season.


Freshman Mario Little added 12 points and 9 rebounds for Chipola.  Sophomore’s Victor Dubovitsky and Ed Berrios had 11 and 10 points, respectively.


Added Heiar, “It’s time for us to get back to work and execute the way that we are capable.  We need to play better if we want to accomplish our ultimate goal.”


The Indians now have a week off before traveling to face #14 Okaloosa-Walton on February 21.  Fans can listen to the game via webcast at



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