Big Night Of Play Ahead Wednesday For Area Panhandle Teams

MARIANNA/PANAMA CITY, FL (WJHG/WECP) For a few area juco basketball teams, Wednesday marks round two of Panhandle Conference play.

For others, it marks the league debut.

Among those heading into their second league games, the mens teams of Northwest Florida and Gulf Coast,
who meet Wednesday night in the latter's gym.

Coach Jay Powell and his Commodores looking to rebound from a conference season opening loss on the road at Tallahassee, which for the vast majority of these Commodores, was the first taste of conference play, what with 9 of them freshman.

That trip to Tallahassee, a hard fought 84-80 loss, Gulf Coast had a three point lead at the half. Coach Powell calls it a big learning experience for his young squad.

"I think what we learned that in this league, you have to be really dialed in at the end just like you are at the beginning. I think naturally, we're getting ready for a game, young men haven't been exposed to Conference play yet, they get up for it, they're amped up, they're dialed in. But you get no time off, you have to continue to play and execute the game plan for the full 40 minutes. And the guys know that."

Things get no easier for Gulf Coast as the 15-2 Raiders come east Wednesday. Coach Steve DeMeo's team coming off a 92-77 win over Pensacola in their league opener Saturday. That mens game 7:30 Wednesday night. The ladies tip off at 5:30.

The game times the same up at Chipola's Johnson Health Center Wednesday as it will be the Panhandle opener for the Chipola teams who host their Tallahassee counterparts.

On the mens side, it's a 17-1 Indians squad coming out of non-conference play.

Chipola the odd school out during the first round of league play Saturday, so they'll host a Tallahassee team that comes in 17-1 overall and 1-0 in conference after a four point win over Gulf Coast three nights ago.

Chipola did play Friday, getting a win over Shelton. So they're rested and ready to go, says Chipola head coach Brendan Foley!

"I'm pleased with where we're at. Our team would obviously love to have one game back where we came up short. But to be 17-1 going into Conference we're excited about that. And that was one of our goals, non-conference wise was to put ourselves in a position that could be nationally recognized and take care of business night in and night out. You know we're excited to start Conference play. We're well aware of how good this Conference is and the teams in this league."

Watch for highlights of all these games Wednesday on Newschannel 7 at 10.