Marianna, FL---For two area men's juco basketball teams, the State Tournament begins Thursday.
Our area represented by both Northwest Florida and Chipola at the tournament hosted by Chipola. The Raiders as the champs of the Panhandle Conference, the Indians in as runner up.
Chipola head coach Patrick Blake and his guys 25-4 overall, and 8-4 through the tough conference schedule. That included a loss at Gulf Coast in their last game, so the Indians not necessarily ending the season with great momentum.
So perhaps the long break between the Saturday before last and Thursday's quarterfinal a welcome extended break for the Indians, says Blake.
"Well right after our last game of the season we gave our guys one day off and then tried to have three very hard competitive days of practice to try and prepare ourselves mentally and physically, hopefully to play back to back days to win a championship. At the very beginning of the break they've been very aggressive. You know we wanted to get up and down, compete and get our bodies used to playing our up tempo style of pressing for 40 minutes, back to back to back days."
The Indians making their 35th appearance at the state tournament, and hoping to come away with their 13th title. The last time they won state back in 2009.