PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Round one.
The opening bell sounded Saturday for what figures to be title fight in the Panhandle Conference and beyond.
Gulf Coast hosted Chipola, women's and men's teams in the mix for conference, state, and national championships.
The seventh ranked Lady Commodores outlasted the ninth ranked Lady Indians 86-77, led by 18 points from Astou Gaye and 16 each from Alexus Dye and Brittany Davis.
Although it's only one of three meetings between these rivals in the regular season, it's still a significant victory. Gulf Coast moves to 3-1, alone in second place behind undefeated Northwest Florida.
Did they "turn the corner" during Saturday's win?
"Who knows? We did today," head coach Roonie Scovel said with a laugh. "The Panhandle Conference is so tough, you may turn the corner and run into a wall when you get there. Enjoy it for two minutes and then get on to the next one which is Tallahassee, which poses a whole different problem."
In the men's game, the tenth ranked Indians held off a gritty effort from Gulf Coast, hanging on for an 84-75 victory behind a 17 point effort by guard Keishawn Brewton.
Chipola ends the first round of Panhandle games 3-1, second behind undefeated Northwest Florida. Gulf Coast falls to 0-4, despite playing each opponent close.