Game, potential state berth slips away from GC men

February 12, 2014   15:14 PM

Jason Shoot/News Herald Staff

MARIANNA — Gulf Coast allowed more than one victory to slip free of its grasp Tuesday night.

A shot at a state tournament berth may have slipped away, too.

The Commodores obliterated Chipola’s 19-point lead in the first half and eventually forced overtime, but Chipola ultimately was the better team in the most important minutes of an 83-82 victory in a Panhandle Conference men’s basketball game at the Milton H. Johnson Health Center.

GC (16-10 overall, 4-5 conference) now trail first-place Northwest Florida State by two games in the Panhandle standings, and Chipola (20-5, 6-4) and Pensacola each lead the Commodores by a game and a half. GC has three games remaining in its regular season schedule.

A Jamaar McKay layup gave Chipola an 80-76 lead, and GC’s Devon Baulkman made 1 of 2 free throws with 18 seconds remaining to trim the Indians’ lead to three. Ron Whitaker maintained possession for the Commodores with an offensive rebound, and Anton Waters made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to pull GC within 80-79.

Chipola’s Sam Cassell Jr. broke free against the Commodores’ full-court press and was fouled while scoring on a layup. His ensuing free throw completed the three-point play and gave the Indians an 83-79 lead with eight seconds left. A late 3-pointer by GC did little to change the outcome.

Cassell made two free throws to tie the game at 71-all with 39 seconds left in regulation. The Commodores couldn’t get a shot off before the shot clock expired on its next possession, however, and Cassell missed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second half.

The Indians led 63-59 after a Carlos Morris layin. Baulkman scored every GC point during a 9-0 run that turned that four-point deficit into a 68-63 lead with a floater in the lane with four minutes left in the second half.

GC led 71-67 after Basil Deveaux’s two free throws with 1:47 left. McKay halved that advantage with a runner in the key, and Cassell knotted the score with his aforementioned free throws.

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