Ocala, FL---The Chipola men's basketball team has it's 13 state juco title, and it's first since 2009.
Coach Pat Blake and his Indians surviving a see-saw championship game Saturday against St. Petersburg, claiming the title with a 79-73 score.
The Indians getting 24 points from Panhandle Conference Player of the Year Sam Cassell, Jr., he also earned tournament MVP honors.
With the win, Chipola (25-5) advances to the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
Cassell, who made 8-of-8 free throws in the win, earned tournament MVP honors and finished the tournament with a tournament-best 70 points. For the tournament, Cassell made 27-of-30 free throws.
He bounced back from a 1-of-6 shooting start in the opening half and finished with 18 points after halftime for the Indians, who were playing in their first final since 2011.
The UConn signee was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jamaar McKay and Demetrious Floyd.
McKay scored 11 points, aided by 9-of-10 free throw shooting and the Indians made 19-of-20 after halftime, including all 10 over the final 2:19.
Cinmeon Bowers (12 points, seven rebounds), Carlos Morris (10 points), Floyd (eight points) and Torian Graham (seven points) also backed Cassell in the win.
Chipola also outrebounded SPC 41-31 after being outrebounded by 19 by Polk State on Friday.
Devonte Pratt (15 points), Prince Foster (12 points, seven rebounds), Reggie Smalls (11 points) and Colton Lewis (10 points) led the way for the Titans, who took their first lead of the game with 17 minutes left after being down by as many as nine in the first half.
From there SPC led by four with 9:02, but Chipola went 6-of-6 at the foul line during a 13-2 run to regain control.
Also making the all-tournament were SPC’s Smalls and Pratt; Central Florida’s Rodell Wigginton; Daytona State’s Ayinde Sprewell; Polk State’s Jamal Evans and Shavanno Cooper; Pensacola’s Kevin Baker; Miami Dade’s Darius Perkins; Eastern Florida State’s Demetrius McReynolds.