Lady Commodores edge Chipola, GC men fall

By The News Herald

Posted Feb 24, 2018 at 10:28 PM


MARIANNA — The No. 2 Gulf Coast women’s basketball team closed out its regular season Saturday night with a 69-65 road victory over Chipola, while the Commodore men finished up falling to the Indians 80-69.


The Lady Commodores, who clinched the outright Panhandle Conference championship a week earlier with a win over Pensacola State, completed an 11-1 league season and are now 23-2 overall. Chipola ended its season 14-13 and 3-9 in conference play. Gulf

Coast will next compete in the Region VIII tournament starting March 8 in Ocala.


Shayla Bennett led the Lady Commodores on Saturday with 29 points, five rebounds, and four assists and hit 19 of 25 from the free throw line. Alexus Dye added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Astou Gaye had eight points and seven rebounds. Jhileiya Dunlap only scored six points but contributed 16 rebounds and four blocked shots.


Courtajia Sanders led the Lady Indians with 21 points, followed by Valerie Nesbitt with 18 points and five assists, with Tyra Johnson scoring 11, and Lyric Turner adding eight points and seven rebounds.


Gulf Coast jumped out to a 15-4 lead to start the game, but Chipola charged back with a 15-3 run to take a one-point lead after one quarter. The Lady Commodores led 37-36 at halftime and the Lady Indians went up 51-48 at the end of the third quarter. The Chipola lead was six after a three-point play by Sanders to start the fourth quarter and 58-54 Lady Indians after a driving basket by Sanders.


Bennett answered with a three-point play of her own and two free throws to put Gulf Coast up 59-58 with six minutes to play. Two more free throws by Bennett gave the Lady Commodores a 66-64 edge with 43 seconds on the clock, and the sophomore guard split a pair of foul shots with 22.5 seconds left to leave her team up three.


She then made a big mistake by fouling Johnson on a 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining, but Johnson could only make one out of the three shots at the line. A bizarre sequence followed when Gulf Coast attempted to inbound the ball from half court to Shay Collins, who caught the ball in the front court and had her momentum carry her into the back court for a violation.


However, a pair of Chipola players left the bench and went on to the court to celebrate the play and a technical foul was called. Bennett then made two free throws to give Gulf Coast the final margin.


The Indians led from start to finish in the men’s game, building a lead as big of 15 points in the first half and taking a 40-33 lead into the break. Gulf Coast got to within four at 54-50 with 11:15 to play, but Chipola gradually pushed the lead back out to 72-62 with 3:41 remaining and kept the Commodores at bay from then on.


Will Robinson led Gulf Coast with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Quadree Smith added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Tyree Gibson scored 10 points. Brandon Mahan was the top scorer for Chipola with 19 points, followed by TJ Howard with 13, Deric Patton with 12, and Shamarkus Kennedy and Keishawn Brewton with 10 each.


Gulf Coast’s season comes to an end at 16-13 overall and 2-10 in the conference. Chipola is now 20-7 overall and 8-4 in the

Panhandle. The Indians will next compete in the Region VIII tournament starting March 7 in Ocala.


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