Gulf Coast basketball teams begin critical stretch

February 10, 2014   21:30 PM

News Herald Staff

PANAMA CITY — Four games remain in the season for the Gulf Coast men’s basketball team, and it appears each one will be more important than the last.

The next step in the Commodores’ pursuit of a berth in the FCSAA state tournament is Tuesday when they travel to Marianna to face Chipola in a Panhandle Conference showdown at the Milton H. Johnson Health Center.

The men’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m. The women’s game precedes it at 5:30 p.m.

GC (16-9, 4-4 conference) was idle on Saturday on a night when Pensacola upended Chipola and Northwest Florida State moved into first place in the Panhandle with a win over Tallahassee. The Commodores dropped to fourth in the conference as a result of those outcomes but still find themselves very much in the mix for a state bid awarded to the top two teams at season’s end.

A victory would vault the Commodores ahead of Chipola (19-5, 5-4) in the conference standings and pull them within a game of idle NWF State. Pensacola plays at Tallahassee and is trying to remain a half-game ahead of the Commodores in second place.

GC and Chipola have split two games this season, with each of them winning on its home floor. The Commodores lost 69-65 when the two teams met in Marianna in early January. Chipola has lost three of its last four games, and the first loss in that stretch was a 75-70 defeat at Gulf Coast.

The Indians have relied on their talented backcourt trio of Sam Cassell Jr., Demetrious Floyd and Carlos Morris to keep their season afloat since the team suffered the loss of three players arrested and suspended last month. They combined for 49 of Chipola’s points in a 68-64 loss to Pensacola on Saturday.

The Indians remain the top-ranked team in the state, at least until the new poll is released this morning. GC currently is fifth.
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