Marianna, FL---The Chipola women's basketball team gets set to debut at the Juco State Tournament in Ocala as one of, if not the favorites going into that single elimination tournament. That based on 28-1 record, undefeated conference mark, and number one ranking.
In visiting with the team before it's departure from Marianna early in the week, Greg Brzozowski found out the team is certainly not thinking about resting on it's laurels though.
Good things don't come to the wishers, those who want, the hopefuls. They come to be the determined, the dedicated, the workers.
Ask the Chipola Lady Indians, who if you hang around, will say things like the following:
"We've been practicing for March all year, so we're ready."
"In the end, we will get what we want because we work hard for it."
"We all sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears. More tears than others, more sweat than others."
Ranked 4th in the nation, first in Florida, the ladies aren't only the state tourney favorite, but a national title contender. That's because in order to be the best, they realized they had to beat the best.
"We wanted to challenge ourselves early and went out and played in a tournament in Texas." says head coach Greg Franklin. "We brought some teams in here that would challenge people nationally."
Says K.D. Ellison, one of Chipola's sophomore guards "I personally think we've played the best of the best. I mean, there ain't nothing out there we ain't prepared for."
"I think there's eight ball games where we've played somebody who's been in the top 15 in the country."
After finishing second at state last year, the veterans are making sure the freshman know what it takes to win a title.
Sophomore forward Treyvonna Brooks telling us "You really just got to prepare mentally for it. It's not the physical thing, even though you do play three days in a row. It's really like a mental thing. You've just got to stay focused, locked in, and have a goal at the end of the day. And that's a championship."
Diamonisha Sophus, another sophomore guard says "It's very important we've got to stay focused because, you never know. We always bring out the opponents best game, so we've got to keep our head on a swivel."
Panhandle, State, National. Three championships. Three goals Chipola set before the season. They checked off the first. Now they're ready for the second.
"Oh my gosh, i want it so bad," says Ellison "like, conference was just a little taste of championship and now state is coming right around the corner and I just can't wait. i can't wait."
"I don't know what it would mean to everybody but ain't that what we was working. If not, then somebody lied." says Brooks.
Chipola, which saw Evelyn Akhator and coach Greg Franklin win player and coach of the year honors Wednesday, plays Palm Beach at 6 eastern Thursday. Northwest Florida opens with Hillsborough at 3.