Chipola Holds Off Okaloosa-Walton
January 12, 2008
By Chipola Staff
#1 Chipola and #13 Okaloosa-Walton figured to be a high-flying, offensive shootout.
Both teams entered into the contest averaging over 90 points a game and featured rosters filled with high profile players. But a track meet never materialized.
Instead, the first of three regular season match-ups between the two teams turned into a defensive battle, with Chipola topping Okaloosa-Walton 56-52 in Marianna, FL on Saturday evening.
“Two very good basketball teams battled for 40 minutes tonight,” said Chipola coach Greg Heiar. “Neither team could really sustain any offensive momentum, but that was in large part because of the defensive game plans.”
The Indians were able to contain Okaloosa-Walton’s leading scorer, sophomore shooting guard Tay Waller, for much of the evening.
Waller, who entered the tilt averaging nearly 20 points a game and having already connected on 85 3pt field-goals this season, was held to just 8 points on 3 of 10 shooting ( 2 of 6 from the 3pt line).
“Mario Edwards did a fantastic job tonight on him (Waller),” said Heiar. “He has worked very hard to become the lockdown defender on the perimeter that this team has been searching for. He chased a great player and made him earn every shot.”
Chipola harassed the Red Raider’s shooters all night, holding Okaloosa-Walton to just 27% (17-63) shooting from the field.
“I thought we had a great week of preparation and really had a good defensive game plan,” said Heiar. “It’s not easy to hold a team of that caliber down for 40 minutes. We knew that they would make a run at us, but we just had to keep defending.”
With Chipola holding on to a 47-44 lead, Indian freshman Gary Flowers and sophomore Mario Little scored 8 points on the next four possession, pushing the Chipola lead to its biggest margin at 55-44 with just 3:51 to play.
But the Red Raiders would respond, going on an their own 8-0 run over the next 3:40, cutting the game to 55-52 with just 0:09 to go.
Freshman Malik Alvin, who was fouled on the ensuing inbounds, connected on the front end of a one-and-one to score the games final point.
The four point win improved Chipola to 2-0 in Panhandle play, and alone atop the conference standings. Okaloosa-Walton is now in 2nd place in the league at 2-1.
With the win, Chipola tied the school record for the best start to a season at 20-0. Last year, the Indians were 20-0 after defeating Okaloosa-Walton 76-74 on the road. They then fell three nights later in double overtime to Tallahassee.
“We have some areas that we need to keep working on,” added Heiar, “but energy and effort can make up for a lot of mistakes. Our guys have been working extremely hard and I’m pleased with the win.”
Flowers led the Indians on the offensive end scoring 16 points and grabbing 6 rebounds.
Little added 13 points and four rebounds. Alvin dished out a team high 7 assists and scored 5 points off the bench.
Chipola resumes action on Tuesday evening as they host Gulf Coast. The Commodores are 16-5 (2-1) on the season. The game can be watched live via webcast at 7:30 pm CST.
The game can be heard live via webcast at 7:30 pm CST.