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OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS                                        March 8, 2005



Marianna, FL 32446                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



             MARIANNA–The Chipola Indians will enjoy home court advantage when they play, Hillsborough Community College Thursday, March 10, in the Florida/Region VIII State Men’s Basketball tournament in Chipola’s Milton H. Johnson Health Center.

            The Indians enter the game as defending state champions, current Panhandle Conference champions and the top-ranked team in Florida.

            Chipola is led by 6’8 Mario Boggan who is averaging 21.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. He’s sixth in the state in field goal percentage at 60 percent. Point guard Stefhon Hannah is another major key to Chipola’s success. He’s averaging 6.2 dishes and 3.2 steals per game.  Kendaris Pelton leads the state in free throws with a 95 percent average.  Anderson Ferreira (6’10) returns to the lineup after a three-game suspension. He is third in the state in three-point shooting with a 51 percent average.

            First year Chipola head coach, Greg Heiar, says home court advantage is a very real phenomenon.  “Playing at home definitely has its perks. We’re in our comfort zone from a mental standpoint. We’re in our own rooms and not in a hotel. And we’re playing on our own court, with our own fans,” said Heiar, who was recently named Panhandle Conference Coach of the Year.

            Heiar said his Chipola team has improved with every game. “We’re going to play our best basketball at the state tournament. We’re playing really hard right now and we’ve set some very clear goals. Our first goal is to win every game. Now our goal is to win the state championship.”

            The Indians clinched the Panhandle Conference Championship nearly a month ago to finish the regular season at 28-2 and 11-1 in league play.

            Chipola’s first round opponent, Hillsborough CC, is the runner-up of the Suncoast Conference. They are led by 6’4 guard Dominique Coleman, the state’s leading scorer, who is averaging 28 points per game. Heiar says, “They’re long and athletic. They’re different than the teams we’ve played in the conference. They’ll play an up-tempo game with a little zone and a little man. To stop them, we’ve got to try to contain Coleman and we’ve got to make sure they don’t easy shots and second shot. The more easy baskets they make, the more confidence they’ll get, so we’ve got to stop make sure that we don’t give them anything.”

            While the Indians are favored to repeat last year’s state championship finish, the road to Saturday’s game will not be an easy one.  If Chipola is able to knock off Hillsborough Thursday, a Friday 8:30 p.m. game against third-ranked Miami-Dade is likely. Miami-Dade, which won the Southern Conference with an 11-1 league record, faces Mid-Florida Runner-up Seminole, in the first round on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.  

            If Okaloosa-Walton is successful against St. Petersburg in their first round game at 4 p.m. on Thursday, the Raiders would play the winner of Daytona and Indian River. 

            A repeat of last year’s championship game between Chipola and OW is a definite possibility again this year. The Indians clipped the Raiders 71-59 in the 2004 championship game. Chipola has beaten OW two of three times this season.

            Advance tournament passes—$25 for adults and $15 for students—are on sale now in the Chipola Business Office. Session tickets (two games) are $10 for adults and $6 for students will be available at the gate. 

            For tournament information, visit the official website at, or phone 718-2CJC.

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