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Chipola Hits Boards Hard to Secure First-Round Game

By Doug Hanna

The Hutchinson News


At a pre-tournament meal, Chipola, Fla., coach Greg Heiar asked the father of point guard Ed Berrios what his team needed to do to win.

"Rebound," the man affectionately known as Pops said. "For a team as big as you are, you don't rebound very well."

Looks like Pops knew best.

Jamarcus Ellis scored 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Chipola outrebounded Georgia Perimeter 44-30 as the Indians defeated the Jaguars 75-64 in the first round of the NJCAA tournament.

"Our point guard didn't have a very good game, our forward struggled from the field, our other forward was in foul trouble, and we beat a very good team," Heiar said. "I'm really proud of these guys."

Ellis scored 12 points in the first half, keeping Chipola even with the Jaguars despite Perimeter's long-range attack. Perimeter hit five 3-pointers as the Jaguars held a three-point lead late in the half.

But Ellis scored the last five points of the half, including a tip-in at the buzzer, to give Chipola a 32-30 lead.

"They were focusing on me early, so I tried to drive and dish outside for jumpers," Ellis said. "But I had to take leadership late in the half, and I stepped up."

"We shot 29 percent, we played defense as bad as we could, we rebounded as bad as we could," Georgia Perimeter coach Alfred Barney said. "It couldn't get worse, and we were still down by two."

Chipola pushed the lead to 51-43 in the second half before Perimeter closed down the Indian attack. For the next 4:35, the Jaguars held Chipola without a point.

"We just weren't executing," Ellis said. "We got up by a seven or eight, and we started standing around."

Meanwhile, Perimeter scratched its way back to within three.

"That pair of second half runs kept us close," Barney said. "We just couldn't come back all the way."

Ellis broke the drought with a layup and Skyler Williams knocked down a 3-pointer on the next possession to push the lead back to eight with 10:21 remaining. Perimeter never cut the lead below six again.

"They gave up," said Chipola's Johnnie Harris, who had 12 points. "We felt that we had control of the game from then on."

Chipola used a 3-2 zone to shut the Jaguars down in the second half. The move caught the Jaguars off-guard. Perimeter shot 1 of 10 from the 3-point line in the second half.

"We were surprised by how much zone they played," Barney said. "We knew they played some, but we did not expect to see it for the whole half."

As a team, the Jaguars couldn't find a rhythm from the field. Perimeter shot 29 percent in the first half and 35 percent from the game. Perimeter shot 18 of 29 from the free throw line.

"It was really frustrating," Perimeter's Fred Brathwaite said. "We just couldn't put the ball in the hole."

Jocolby Davis scored 19 points to lead the Jaguars. Akeem Sween added 12 and Brathwaite scored 10, 12 below his average.

Chipola advances to play Three Rivers in the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. today. Perimeter will play Bevill State in the consolation round on Thursday at 10 a.m.

"They are a well-coached team," Heiar said of Three Rivers. "We'll go watch game film, get a game plan together, and be ready to go."

And they'll remember Berrios' dad's advice.

"We called him 'Pops' before," Heiar said. "We call him 'Rebound' now."

Note: Georgia Perimeter and Chipola met during the regular season on Nov. 25. Chipola won 90-82... There was a seven-minute delay early in the second half when a glitch in the scoreboard would not let Perimeter's score be reset to 30. Six time the scoreboard pushed Perimeter's score to 130. Heiar offered to let Perimeter keep the points before the glitch was eventually worked out.



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