Gulf Coast finally marks home opener after ten games on the road

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 9:26 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Gulf Coast mens basketball team was finally able to play on the home court Monday night!

Coach Phil Gaffney and his Commodores hosting Florida Coastal Prep, in a game that was originally set for Sunday, but pushed back because of a scheduling conflict for FCP.

I say “finally” because the Commodores have spent the first ten games of this season so far on the road. Coach Gaffney making the strategic decision to schedule nothing but away games to start this season. And all in all, the team’s responded nicely. They did lose the first two games of the season, they were shorthanded for those because of injuries. Since then the Commodores have won 7 of 8, so the record is 7-3 going into tonight’s home debut against Coastal Chaos, a prep school team from over in Okaloosa County.

“I really tried on purpose to give us a super hard schedule.” coach Gaffney told me Monday afternoon, after his team’s walk-through. “And really tried to challenge us with road games. I think that really helps you if you get to the national tournament. It really helps if you get to the state tournament. So by the time we finish our schedule, there’s nobody we should be in any fear of, or in awe of. We’ll have played a great, great schedule in terms of road games. We’ll feel really, really good about ourselves.”

As for being able to play on the home floor Monday, coach Gaffney put it this way. “But I just think playing on the court where you play every day, you practice every day, you put in the blood sweat and tears every day, I think this will be fun for them. They know that playing on the road is a great challenge and they really accepted the challenge, been really great about it. ‘Hey we want to play a hard team, we want to play them on the road,’ they’ve been really great about that. But it will be fun to actually just play on your home court and wear the home gray uniforms.”

That home opener certainly going the way of the Commodores, who jumped out to a big lead early and went on to beat Florida Coastal Prep 143-44. Chase Forte and Israel Torres each with 26. Gulf Coast now 8-3 and will be back in game action Saturday at Florida Southwestern in Fort Myers.