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No. 3 Chipola upsets No. 1 Gulf Coast

By Dustin Kent

MARIANNA — In the biggest Panhandle Conference game of the season thus far, it was No. 3 that prevailed over No. 1 on Wednesday night at the Milton H. Johnson Health Center.

Chipola’s Infunya Nwachukwu made a short jumper in the lane in the final minute of the game to put the third-ranked Lady Indians ahead of No. 1 Gulf Coast for good, and D’Asia Gregg’s last-second 3-point attempt to tie rimmed out as time expired.

With the victory, the Lady Indians (19-1) moved to 4-0 in the Panhandle Conference, while Gulf Coast (15-0) dropped back to 2-1.

Ariel Cummings led Chipola with 15 points, though she had to watch her teammates finish from the bench after fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.

After a basket by Nwachukwu gave the Lady Indians a 67-60 advantage, Gulf Coast stormed back with an 11-4 run sparked by four quick points from Gregg, who made two free throws followed by a steal and breakaway layup to cut the deficit to three with 4:14 to play.

Ahlana Smith later connected on two clutch jumpers, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining to make it a one-point game and then knocking in a tough two-point shot from the left baseline to put Gulf Coast up 71-70 with 52.2 seconds on the clock.

Nwachukwu gave the lead back to Chipola with 29 seconds remaining when Isodora Sousa drove into the paint and drew a double team before turning and finding the 6-foot-2 Nigerian freshman for an open 12-footer.

Gulf Coast point guard Lya Farcy drove to the basket on the ensuing possession but missed a driving layup and Chipola was able to play keepaway with the ball until Gulf Coast was finally able to give a foul with 7 seconds to play.

Precious Cowan made both free throws to make it a three-point game before Gregg’s late miss secured the win for Chipola.

Cowan finished with nine points, while Cummings led the way with 15 points. Caitlyn Wilson added 13 points and Sousa had 11.

Gregg was the top scorer for Gulf Coast with 24 points, including 13 in the second quarter, with Smith adding 22 points.

Gulf Coast will return home Saturday against Tallahassee. Chipola will be off until Jan. 23 when it goes to Niceville to take on Northwest Florida State.

 

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