Indians Prevail On Sophomore Night: Win Panhandle Outright
February 23, 2008
By Chipola Staff
It’s only fitting that
the trophy named for long
time Chipola head coach and
NJCAA legend Milton H.
Johnson is staying put. An
87-77 win over Gulf Coast on
homecoming gives the Indians
a fifth straight Panhandle
while improving the nation’s
number three team to a
school record 29-1 final
regular season record.
“I’m really proud of what these guys have done thus far,” said Chipola head coach Greg Heiar. “A lot of hard work has allowed us to be in this position heading into the state tournament.”
On a night when Chipola gave sophomore walk-ons Antwon Hall, Eddie King, and Decoya White their first career starts while honoring their sophomore class, it was sophomore mainstay Mario Little who led the way.
Little scored a game high 21 points on 9 of 16 shooting and grabbed 6 rebounds, helping Chipola finish with an 11-1 conference record. The 11 conference wins is also a new Chipola school record.
“This portion of the season is now over,” said Heiar. “We’ll take a day or two to regroup before turning our attention to the tournament.”
“I think our guys will look back many years from now and realize what we’ve done, but nobody here is satisfied just yet. We still have higher aspirations.”
When a thirteen point advantage midway through the second half was trimmed to just two with 7:23 to play, the Indians turned to a group of freshman for a spark. Torye Pelham, Gary Flowers, and Jon Kreft each punched home thunderous dunks down the stretch on Chipola fast-breaks, while Casey Mitchell nailed a three-pointer on a 4 on 3 break to help propel Chipola to the win.
“We had a group guys that came in and gave us energy when we needed it,” said Heiar. “But we put ourselves into that position by not getting stops on the other end. Thankfully we dug in down the stretch and changed momentum in our favor.”
Kreft, along with freshman Vernon Teel, added 12 and 10 points for the Indians. Mitchell and sophomore Malik Alvin both chipped in 8 points as Chipola finished the regular season undefeated at 14-0 in front of the home crowd.
Chipola now advances to the state tournament on March 5-8, where the defending state champions will play at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, March 5, representing the Panhandle Conference as the #1 seed. The Indians play the Mid-Florida Conference Runner-Up, which will be the winner of Central Florida and Seminole (February 25).
The state tournament can be seen in its entirety via webcast, beginning on March 5 at 1:00 pm. The second and third rounds, played on Friday and Saturday March 7-8, can also be seen on the Dish Network 9418 or Comcast channel 62.