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GC basketball teams seek rebound against NWF State

February 8, 2013  23:29 AM

Jason Shoot/News Herald Staff

PANAMA CITY — The temptation to look ahead on the schedule can be difficult to resist.

Jay Powell has lots of practice, though.

“I’m trying not to look at the big picture too much as the leader of the group, and I’m trying to stay very focused on our next basketball game,” Powell said as his Gulf Coast men’s team prepares to play Northwest Florida State Saturday in a Panhandle Conference contest at the Billy Harrison Field House at 7:30 p.m.

GC (19-6 overall, 4-4 conference) is trying to make up ground against the first-place Raiders (21-2, 7-1) and second-place Chipola (23-2, 6-2) in the conference standings. The Commodores are three games behind NWF State and two behind Chipola.

“A person would be lying if they said they do not acknowledge the bigger picture,” Powell said. “I do think we need to look at every game as if it’s a must-win game. The reality of it is that if we win the correct three games and go 3-1 in the last round, it could still possibly give us a tie for a play-in game (to state). But the best route for us to take it to win all four games.”

The Commodores are rebounding from a 92-69 loss at Chipola on Tuesday, GC’s most lopsided defeat of the season. Powell noted he is concerned that the loss may have dented the team’s self-confidence.

“I feel like at this point, after having a tough loss on the road partly because of our defense and partly because Chipola shot the ball so very well Tuesday night, we have to make sure we have confidence in ourselves and in our abilities,” Powell said. “We need to come in and compete and play as a team and make sure emotionally we are ready to go. We haven’t had a loss like that this season. We’ll see the character they have as individuals and as a group (Saturday). I hope they rise to the challenge.”

GC put a scare into NWF State in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 8, and the Commodores were competitive when the teams met in Niceville on Jan. 23. The Raiders, now ranked eighth in the nation and second in the state, were able to escape with wins in both of those games, however.

“We can beat this team,” Powell said. “Sometimes you wonder about young people and wonder where their minds are. I’m trying to do what I can do and should be doing as a coach and make sure they fully believe that. It’s not just a mental, ‘Yes sir, we know we can compete and win.’ I’m looking for a true emotional and heartfelt attitude that we can compete and execute and do the little things it takes to win (Saturday).”

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