For the first time in school history, the Chipola
Indians will head into the Christmas break without a
single loss on their resume.
After picking up two wins in the Panhandle
Shootout in Gainesville on Saturday and Sunday, the
top-ranked Indians moved to 15-0 on the season.
Chipola coach Greg Heiar is not getting carried
away with his team's early season success, there's
not a lot of things to be unsatisfied with about the
Indians' season thus far.
"Obviously, we're in a good state of mind right
now," the coach said. "I've very pleased with the
team and how they've played so far."
The Indians defeated Hillsborough 94-80 on
Saturday and came back to beat Seminole 70-63 on
Heiar said that the back-to-back was especially
trying for a team that could smell the Christmas
break right around the corner.
"(The players) were ready to go home," Heiar
said. "The game before the Christmas break is
probably the hardest game for a JUCO coach to coach
because they're all looking forward to going home
for Christmas. I'm just glad it's over now."
DeAndre Thomas led Chipola with 23 points and 10
rebounds Saturday. Victor Dubovitsky and Johnnie
Harris led the Indians Sunday with 15 points each.
Chipola shot a scalding 62 percent against
Hillsborough to score 94 points in spite of 27
turnovers. Against Seminole, the Indians shot only
33 percent but made 22-of-30 free throws.
The key in both games for the Indians, according
to Heiar, was their work on the glass.
Chipola was a combined +22 on the boards over the
weekend, getting a combined 39 offensive rebounds.
"We dominated the boards," Heiar said. "That's
why we won those games. We'll win a lot of games
with 18+ offensive rebounds."
The only worrisome detail for Heiar right now is
whether or not his team can continue to match the
intensity of opponents who treat their games against
the Indians like the biggest of the season.
"The bullseye on our backs is bigger than ever,"
the coach said. "It's only going to intensify in
conference play. The energy level for teams that
play us is so high and that's great, but we're
vulnerable because of the complacency that can set
in when you're undefeated."
"There can be slippage if the energy is not
The Indians won't have to worry about that first
loss at least until Dec. 29, when they face
Hillsborough again in Tallahassee.
Chipola will play Columbia State the day after
that game and open up Panhandle Conference play Jan.
6 at home against Pensacola.