MARIANNA, Fla- The Junior College Region 8 State championship Basketball tournament starts this week and two local teams will look to punch their tickets to the National Tournament. One of those squads is the men's Panhandle conference champion Chipola Indians, who are ready to complete yet another goal this year.
The Chipola Indians are checking off their accomplishments this season.
"For us our first goal was to make the state tournament," Head coach Jake Headrick said. "Then it was to win the Panhandle conference championship, and it just keeps going down the line. As you work through the year it gives you something to play for. It gives you something to work hard for everyday."
The Indians clinched the conference title midway through their conference schedule and it kind of hurt them down the stretch.
Headrick added, "First 10 games we went 9-1, and I think it's because we were a hungry team. We had a lot to play for. We were tying to win a conference championship, and then the last couple of games of the year didn't have a lot to play for and didn't win those games. So for us now we've got to get back to go hard or go home. So now we've got a lot to play for."
Now that they will play games that mean something the team is refocused on their ultimate goals.
"For us it was being able to win the league, being able to make the state tournament, and now being able to win the state tournament," said Headrick.
The combination of talent and depth is the reason they've made it to this point in the season.
"I think the good thing about it is we have about five guys averaging somewhere between 10 and 14 points a game," said Headrick. "So, we've just got alot of options that we can throw at different people. I think that's a big plus for us for this time of the year."
They know exactly what it will take to win three games and make it back to Kansas for the National Tournament now they have to go out and execute the game plan.
"Defense leads to our offense," Sophomore guard Marcos Knight said. "So we need to play together defensively, as well as rebound, and playing together as a team."
The Indians open state tournament play against St. Petersburg Thursday at 6. The Northwest Florida State Lady Raiders play Wednesday against St. Pete at 6.