MARIANNA, FL (WJHG/WECP) The Chipola Lady Indians will be particularly interested in the outcome of the State Tournament next week in Ocala, even though they are not going to be a part of that 8 team tourney.
You see the Lady Indians, at 7-5, finished tied for third in the Panhandle Conference, and only the top two teams advance to State. Those two Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida.
Despite missing out on State, Chipola has hopes of making the National Tourney next month in Lubbock, Texas with an at-large bid.
Having the Commodores and Raiders perhaps finishing one and two in Ocala would help that cause for sure!
"(laughs) (We are) pretty big fans" (of Gulf Coast and Northwest Florida) says coach Franklin. "You know what, I hope the Panhandle (teams) just go down and dominate. Or does what they're supposed to do. Because let me tell you something, we go to war every single night here, in the best conference in the country. Every single night, there's not one night off. It's the best, hands down. And if you want to play in the National Tournament and they're giving at-large bids you need to go play people. You need to play the best of the best, and that's...you need to come to the Panhandle (Conference), play us.
TCC also hoping for that at large bid to Nationals. They were also 7-5 in league play, and ranked higher than Chipola in the national poll out this week, but Chipola won two of three head to head games with the Eagles.
So Chipola remains hopeful of that bid to Nationals, which means they must continue to practice, even without the promise of another game this season.
"You're right, it is odd, but we're gonna go ahead, do a lot of skill development." says Franklin "Some training, and we'll get back to team stuff early next week. You know, just understanding the fact that we feel like we really deserve to be into the national tournament. You know this team has shown so much resolve, so much fight, that they are such a close group, they hope and pray that they are gonna be in. It's really not up to us, it's not left in our hands, but these kids, I'm telling you, it's a tough group right here."