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Chipola Puts on Show - Downs Conners

Indians Finish the Season 34-2

hutchnews.com

 

Chipola, Fla., played Saturday's third-place game at the NJCAA Tournament like Greg Heiar saw his Indians perform most of the season.

The top-ranked Indians, who lost in Friday's semifinal to Salt Lake to snap a 32-game winning streak, were running the floor for dunks and hitting plenty of open shots to cruise by Connors State, Okla., 102-70 at the Sports Arena.

"It was like the monkey was lifted off our back," Heiar said. "Winning all those games in a row and being the No. 1 team in the country and the pressure to win a national championship ... I told the team halfway through the first half on the bench that I haven't seen this team in a long time because, when you have a long winning streak and it keeps going, the pressure mounts.

"That's how we've been playing all year. We're a transition team that gets up and down. It was fun to watch those guys today."

The Indians (34-2) put on a show by running the floor and driving to the basket to get either layups or dunks. Chipola also had five players in double figures.

The Indians made 54.4 percent of its shots from the field and also outrebounded the Cowboys 51-29.

"We just lost yesterday and it took a lot out of us," said Justin Brownlee, who scored a game-high 20 points. "We just wanted to go out there and have fun and compete and get a win."

Freshman forward Darrell Williams added 18 points and 14 rebounds for Chipola, Gary Flowers scored 15 points and Torye Pelham had dunks on five of his six fields goals to finish with 13 points. After scoring 38 points in the semifinals, Casey Mitchell had 10 points.

For Connors State (28-9), it was another blowout defeat after the Cowboys lost by 19 points in the semifinals.

"Like I said last night, we had a great year, but once we got to this final four, we were completely overmatched," Connors State coach Bill Muse said. "We've seen that the last two nights. The other three teams have a lot more talent. We've had a great year and I think we've overachieved a little bit. I wish we could have been a bit more competitive the last two nights."

Chipola showcased its talent by starting its second five players and racing out to a 17-7 lead in the first five minutes, 30 seconds.

But the Cowboys made it interesting for a while, grabbing a 29-28 lead on a 3-pointer by Orlando Brown with 8:09 left in the half.

"That's the most talented basketball team that I've ever played against," said Brown, who led the Cowboys with 16 points. "They're by far."

The Indians used a 10-2 run to take a 42-33 lead on a basket from Williams.

But the Cowboys outscored the Indians 7-2 to cut the Chipola advantage to 44-40 at halftime.

Connors State was within 54-48 on a 3-pointer by Stephon Weaver, who had 14 points, but the Indians went on a 17-5 run to go up 71-53.

The Cowboys used a 7-0 run to close to 71-60 before Chipola outscored Connors State 31-10 to end the game.

The two teams combined to commit the second-fewest fouls in a tournament game with 15, while Connors State tied for third with just six teams fouls for the game. The two teams tied for seventh for the fewest combined turnovers with 15.

Connors State tied for eighth for the fewest turnovers in a four-game tournament with 48.
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