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Chipola Finishes Week 4-0 - Readies for Conference Play
by Dustin Kent - JC Floridan

 

The No. 8 Chipola Indians finished the week 4-0 with wins Wednesday and Thursday to cap off of a four games in four days stretch in their return from the
Christmas break.

Chipola, now 15-1 with nine straight wins, defeated Georgia Perimeter 80-51 on Monday and Northwest Mississippi 96-76 on Tuesday in Panama City.

The Indians then headed to Pensacola for the final two games of the week, beating USC-Salkehatchie 80-70 on Wednesday and Albany Tech 76-62 on Thursday.

Chipola was tied in Wednesday’s game 37-37 at the half thanks to eight 3-pointers from USC-Salkehatchie.

However, the Indians started to pull away early in the second half.

“Some of those shots that they made in the first half were tough, but in the second half we came out and defended and rebounded the ball well,” Chipola coach
Jake Headrick said. “We started guarding, and our defense led to some easy buckets. We were able to get some stuff going offensively off of our defense.”

Sam Grooms led Chipola with 18 points, with Dexter Ellington and Lashay Page each adding 12.

On Thursday, the Indians were red-hot at the start, jumping out to a 20-6 lead.

However, foul trouble calmed the Chipola storm, with Steadman Short, Ellington and Delwan Graham all missing the final eight minutes of the half with two fouls.

Albany Tech was able to trim the lead to just seven at 40-33 by halftime.

However, the Indians were able to regain their form in the second half, pushing the lead up to 15 by the 10-minute mark and holding on from there.

Headrick said he wasn’t that surprised to see his team a bit sluggish in the final day of the team’s four-game stretch, the second of which the Indians have gone through this season.

“We played like it was our fourth game in four days to be honest,” the coach said. “After we got up, we lost focus a little bit. I tried to play a lot of guys with it being our last game before the conference season and gave some different people different minutes.

“We sort of lost focus, the game got sloppy and it stayed sloppy. At times, it looked like we wanted to play, and at others it was like our minds were somewhere else.”

Page and Ellington each led Chipola with 16 points on the day, with Graham adding 14 and Marvin Fitzgerald 12.

Freshman Keith DeWitt scored six points in 18 minutes, the most he played since making his debut on Monday.

Headrick said he was happy to have the non-conference schedule behind him, with the Indians’ next contest coming on Jan. 9 at home against Panhandle
Conference foe Gulf Coast.

“We’re getting ready for the time of the year that it’s all about,” the coach said. “We’ve got a little over a week to get prepared for Panhandle play. We’re going to spend a lot of time the next few days watching film, then come back on Sunday to practice and show what we have to improve and get better at.”

Headrick said these four games have been good preparation for conference play, but his team will have to prepare and execute at a different level in one of the nation’s premier conferences.

“At times this week, it looked like we just rolled the ball out there and played,” the coach said. “But in the Panhandle Conference, we’re going to have to be able to run our sets well, execute in the halfcourt and get stops.”

 

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