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Indians Claim Sole Possession of Panhandle Conference Lead


The #3 Chipola College Indians used a swarming defense and timely execution on the offensive end to defeat the #11 Tallahassee Eagles 65-58 on Tuesday evening. 


Chipola, now 7-1 in league play, holds a one game lead over Tallahassee (6-2) with just four games to play.  The Indians are in position to claim what would be their 4th straight Panhandle Conference championship. 


“Any time you can go on the road, play in a tough environment, and defeat a sound basketball team, you have to be pleased,” said Chipola head coach Greg Heiar.  “This was a game where we persevered down the stretch in large part because of our leader, Jamarcus Ellis.”


Ellis led the Indians by racking up his 13th double/double of the season.  The All-American candidate finished the night with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while also adding in a team high 6 assists.


“When he (Ellis) came back into the game with six minutes to play, he took us to another level,” said Heiar.  “He attacked the basket.  He rebounded.  Our energy level went back to where it was at the start of the game.”


Ellis, who picked up his 4th personal foul with 9:46 to play, subbed back in with just 6:32 on the clock.  During those final minutes, the future Indiana Hoosier scored 12 points and grabbed 4 rebounds to lift Chipola from a 50-54 deficit.


The Indians had built a 20-4 lead to start the game by mixing in a court press and a stingy court defense.  But, Tallahassee countered with a 16-10 run to close the half and cut the lead to ten at 30-20.


The Eagles then capitalized on that momentum to shut down the Chipola offense for much of the second half.  The Indians managed to score only 14 points during the first 13 minutes of the second frame.


“This was just another one of those battles between Chipola and Tallahassee,” added Heiar.  “They are a good team and we are good team.  So you knew that there would be stretches when we both would have some difficulty scoring.”


But it was the Indians, now 24-1 on the season, who executed during the waning moments.  Chipola scored on ten of their final eleven trips down the floor, pushing them to the seven point victory.


Chipola sophomore DeAndre Thomas, also Indiana bound, added 11 points and six rebounds.  Freshman Mario Edwards, who made his second career start, chipped in 8 points on a 3 of 3 shooting night. 


The Indians play host to Pensacola (10-15, 1-7) on Saturday evening.  The game can be viewed via webcast at   


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