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Chipola Men and Women Score Victories in Conference Openers

 By DUSTIN KENT  
Jackson County Floridan

January 9, 2007 

The Chipola Indians routed the Pensacola Pirates 76-55 Saturday night in their Panhandle Conference debut, while the Lady Indians overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to pull out a 66-58 victory over Pensacola in their own league opener.

The Chipola men had little difficulty dispatching the Pirates to move to 1-0 in conference play, opening up a 14-point halftime lead and cruising in the second half.

After the 2:00 mark of the first half, the Pirates were never within single digits of the Indians.

DeAndre Thomas led the Indians with 17 points, while Victor Dubovitsky added 14 and Jamarcus Ellis scored 13 points, with 12 rebounds and five assists despite a 4-of-17 shooting night.

Pensacola placed only one player in double figures, Vernon Carr with 26.

The Pirates led only once in the game at 7-6, but consecutive baskets by Thomas, followed by a basket by Dubovitsky, two free throws by Ellis and a 3-pointer by Mario Edwards capped an 11-0 Chipola run to make it 17-7 with 13:44 left in the half.

Chipola led 46-36 early in the second half when five quick points by Dubovitsky, a basket by Ellis and another 3-pointer by Edwards made it an 18-point Indians advantage with 12:54 to play.

The Lady Indians had a rougher go of it, struggling through a sluggish first half that saw Chipola shoot only 31 percent from the field.

Pensacola used an 8-3 surge to close the half to take a 32-25 halftime lead. The second half saw the Lady Indians' sophomores step up and take charge with Latoya Brown and Ra'Shawna Sippio accounting for the first 15 Chipola points of the second half.

Brown knocked down three 3-pointers in the first 5:34 of the second half, the last of which put the Lady Indians ahead 40-38. Pensacola wouldn't go away, however, and led 53-49 before a putback by Sippio and a short jumper by Gekeela Clemmons tied the game with 4:45 to play.

A free throw by Louvinia Hayes and a putback by C.J. Pace put Chipola ahead for good at 56-53. A pair of clutch free throws by Brown extended the Lady Indians' lead to five at 63-58 with 37.6 seconds left to play.

It was a, perhaps, rougher than expected road to victory for the No. 8 Lady Indians but Chipola coach David Lane credited Pensacola for a solid gameplan.

"I thought PJC played very well," the coach said.

"It's well-known that we're a very aggressive team defensively and (PJC) did a lot of things to counteract our aggressiveness.

"They were spreading us out and using back cuts, so we had to be kind of passive in the second half."

And, as is the case often at the JUCO level, it was the sophomores who stepped when it mattered most. Sippio led Chipola with 16 points, all of which came in the second half, and Brown scored 15 points.

"We've talked with Ra'Shawna about her getting more out of what she's got and I thought she did that tonight.

"She made a couple of baskets to get us going," Lane said. "Latoya Brown hit some big shots and C.J. Pace, even though she didn't shoot it great, led us in rebounding with 12 and played strong down the stretch for us."

Both Chipola squads will next travel to Panama City Wednesday to face Gulf Coast.

 

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