Five In A Row: Indians Clinch Share Of Conference Crown
February 21, 2008
By Chipola Staff
Five years, five Panhandle Conference championships.
That’s the resume that Chipola has built since coach Greg
Heiar landed in Marianna, Fl.
An 89-72 win on Wednesday night in Pensacola now ensures that the Indians will capture at least a share of the conference title, making it the fourth such championship in as many seasons for Heiar as head coach. Heiar’s first of five Panhandle championships was as an assistant coach under Chris Jans in 2004.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have had some very good players,” said Heiar. “Those guys have been tremendous leaders, while buying into our system and knowing how we want them to play.”
“I’ve also been very lucky to have had assistant coaches that understand our system and are able to help develop players.”
The game’s outcome was greatly determined in the first half, as Chipola built a 50-37 halftime advantage behind the hot shooting of sophomore Mario Little.
Little would connect on his first nine field goal attempts while scoring 25 points in the opening period. He hit his first six three-point field goals, breaking his career high of five, set just this past Saturday against Okaloosa-Walton.
“It’s probably the best one-half performance I’ve ever witnessed as a head coach,” said Heiar. “For it to be a road game, makes it that much more impressive.”
The future Kansas Jayhawk ended the night with 27 points and 7 rebounds, as the Indians improved to 28-1 on the season.
“If he has just one performance like that while at Kansas, he’ll go in the NBA draft,” joked freshman Gary Flowers.
Chipola, who owns the tie breaker over Okaloosa-Walton in the league race, is now guaranteed to represent the Panhandle Conference as the champion in the State Tournament on March 5-8.
“The support from the administration, faculty and staff, booster club members, and surrounding community has continued to increase,” said Heiar. “We’re excited to finish up the regular season on Saturday night with homecoming and then play in the state tournament.”
Aiding the Chipola victory was sophomore Malik Alvin, who just missed a double/double. He scored 17 points and dished out 9 assists as Chipola upped its conference record to 10-1.
“I thought everybody contributed in some way,” added Heiar. “We’re continuing to share the basketball. To get a road win on their sophomore night and to clinch at least a share of the conference title showed a lot of character from our kids.”
Flowers ended the night with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Freshmen Vernon Teel and Casey Mitchell rounded out the double-digit scorers for the nation’s number three ranked team, each adding 10 points. Teel also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The regular season finale against Gulf Coast gives the Indians an opportunity to win the Panhandle Conference crown outright. A win would also mean the best regular season record in school history.
The game can be seen live via webcast, beginning at 7:30 pm CST.