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Chipola next hurdle in Gulf Coast's Panhandle slate

January 18, 2013  20:17 PM

Jason Shoot/News Herald Staff

PANAMA CITY — The Gulf Coast basketball teams each find themselves positioned well in the Panhandle Conference through their first three league games.

The next hurdle on the schedule for both programs comes in the form of Chipola. The Lady Commodores host Chipola at the Billy Harrison Field House Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The men’s game will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Ranked fifth in the state, the GC men are 17-3 overall and 2-1 in the Panhandle, and they can pull within a game of first-place Northwest Florida State with a victory. Chipola won all 17 of its non-conference games but since has lost two of three contests against Panhandle teams. The Indians, who are ranked No. 7 nationally and No. 3 in Florida, are tied for third in the conference with Pensacola.

“I think one thing that stands out about Chipola this season is they have such a good talent level at all positions,” Commodore coach Jay Powell said. “They have great size and post play returning from last season, and they’re very talented in that part of the game. They also brought in three very talented perimeter players.”

Powell is in his sixth season at Gulf Coast, and this will mark his 16th game against the Indians. GC athletic director Gregg Wolfe said in a press release this week that the GC-Chipola rivalry dates more than 40 years.

“When I think about Chipola, I think about the utmost respect I have for what they’ve accomplished on the court of the years,” Powell said. “You hear stories still about Milton Johnson from the people who grew up in that area around Chipola and have moved down here or spend time down here. ... I have a lot of respect for them and the things they’ve accomplished over the years. And any time you play against a great program, you want to put your best foot forward.”

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