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GC men stay in 1st, women fall back

By Dustin Kent
The Gulf Coast men’s and women’s basketball teams split a doubleheader against Northwest Florida State in Niceville on Saturday night.

The No. 4 Lady Commodores (18-4 overall, 5-4 in in the Panhandle Conference) dropped their second game in a row 74-69 to fall back into third place in the league standings, while the Gulf Coast men (20-5, 7-2) rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to win 82-78 and keep pace with Tallahassee atop the league standings.

The Gulf Coast women were short-handed without leading scorer Ahlana Smith due to injury and backup point guard Ra’Shara Simmons with a concussion, and played just seven players.

Naomi Mbandu scored 28 points and made seven 3-pointers to keep the Lady Commodores close, while D’Asia Gregg added 21 points, and Tatiana Jones had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Chanaya Pinto had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead the way for the No. 7 Raiders (21-4, 6-3), while Rayven Peeples added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and former Gulf Coast player Reneasha Payton scored 19 points as well.

Gulf Coast led 26-25 at halftime before Northwest took control in the third, outscoring the Lady Commodores 22-13 to take an eight-point lead into the fourth.

The Raiders extended the lead to 11 with 3:46 remaining in the game after a 3-pointer by Payton.

Mbandu made three more 3-pointers for Gulf Coast to cut the margin to 71-67 with 10.2 seconds left, but it was too little too late.

Northwest’s men looked poised to complete the sweep in the second game, going up by as much as 11 in the first half before ultimately taking a 40-33 lead into the break.

Jacolbey Owens had other ideas, however, and started the second half scalding hot from deep, making four 3-pointers in the first five minutes out of the locker room to put the Commodores up 52-49.

Owens, who led Gulf Coast with 31 points and four assists, hit his biggest three of the night much later, delivering a dagger on a step-back triple to put GC up 79-74 with 45.7 seconds on the clock.

The Raiders had one last chance to tie with a baseline out of bounds with 3.3 seconds to play trailing 81-78, but Szymon Wojcik wasn’t able to get the ball in before being whistled for a five-second violation.

Cam Holden, who finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists, made the first of two free throws to put the game away.

Maurice Gordon added 10 points and Davonta Cook eight points for the Commodores, who matched Tallahassee’s earlier win over Chipola to remain tied for first in the league.

The Raiders (12-13, 0-9) were led by Marseilles Caston’s 19 points, with Seth Millner adding 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Anthony Mason had 16 points and nine rebounds and Tutu Chisolm contributed 12 points.

Gulf Coast will return home Wednesday to play Pensacola State. Northwest will play at Chipola on Wednesday.


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