Header

Gulf Coast goes for 1st vs. No. 10 TCC

By Dustin Kent

On Wednesday in Marianna, Gulf Coast got a win that kept the Commodores from falling into fourth place in the Panhandle Conference standings.

On Saturday in Panama City, the Commodores will try to notch another victory that would propel them all the way into first.

Gulf Coast (15-4 overall, 2-1 in conference) welcomes in No. 10 Tallahassee (19-2, 3-0) to the Billy Harrison Field House at 4 p.m. in a game that could put it level with the league-leading Eagles through the first round of conference play.

It would be a pretty remarkable turn of events for a Gulf Coast team just two games removed from a 23-point home blowout loss to Pensacola State.

“Our thing is the Pensacola game was just so bad,” Commodores coach Phil Gaffney said. “And it was kind of my fault. We put a (shooting guard/small forward) in the lineup instead of playing a point guard when (sophomore starting point guard KK Godwin) went out.

″(Against Chipola) we played another point guard and it helped us because it balanced us out. It made our lineup way more balanced the way it usually is.”

The insertion of freshman point guard Davonta Cook into the lineup Wednesday paid immediate dividends with a 76-68 win over Chipola.

The Commodores are now 2-0 on the road in the Panhandle Conference and will have a major challenge to avoid going 0-2 at home against an Eagles team that Gaffney called the most talented in the league.

Tallahassee is led by 6-foot-3 freshman point guard El Ellis, who is putting in 17 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game in conference play while shooting 49.5 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from the 3-point line, and 84.7 percent from the free throw line.

Sophomore guard Eric Hester is also averaging 15.3 points in Panhandle play, with four other players averaging between 7.7 and 12 points per league contest.

“They’re so balanced,” Gaffney said of the Eagles. “Some teams have one guy who scores all the points, but they’re balanced. The problem with them is a lot of teams have good bigs or good guard, but they’ve got everything. They can shoot it, they’re athletic, they’re quick, they’ve got a lot of stuff.

“Usually you try to find what the other team’s weakness is and attack it, but I don’t know what Tallahassee’s weakness is. They’ve got everything.”

Gulf Coast hasn’t been terribly balanced in conference play, with Cam Holden carrying the offense through three games at 32.7 points per contest.

In the Commodores’ victories, however, they’ve done everything else well as a team, most notably pounding the offensive glass and forcing a bevy of turnovers with their defensive pressure.

“Our halfcourt defense and rebounding were way better (against Chipola),” Gaffney said. “We rebounded really well and defended really well. When we do that, now we can get out and run and get in transition and get some layups. That’s really been the key for us. When our defense is good, then our offense is good.”

While the win over Chipola was perhaps something of a stress reliever for the Commodores, a victory Saturday would put them right back into the thick of the race for a conference championship through the first round of league play.

“That’s exactly where you want to be after your first round,” Gaffney said. “I think you’ve probably got to be 9-3 to win the league and maybe 8-4 comes in second. What we’re trying to do is make sure we get to that eight-win mark. Going 3-1 (through the first round) sets you on a great path to get there. If it’s 2-2, you’ve probably got to steal some games, but you definitely have got to win your home games.”


 

NJCAA
FCSAA
GCSC
Gulf Coast State College Athletics | 5230 West Highway 98 | Panama City, FL | 850.769.1551
©2019 | Privacy Policy | Webmaster