Niceville, Florida -- It was a rough way to begin the Northwest Florida State Classic for the Indian Hills Warriors on Thursday. The Warriors made up a double-digit second-half deficit, took a brief lead with five minutes to play, but saw a last-second, potential game-winning shot miss the mark and lost their first game of the season, 61-60, to Gulf Coast State College.
Chris Childs, who had nailed the game-winner in IHCC's last game against Coffeyville (Kans.) last Saturday, couldn't duplicate that effort against GCSC. Childs' attempt from the top of the key missed and the Commodores (5-0) secured the rebound to stay undefeated for the season.
The Warriors (6-1) trailed by seven points at halftime following a first half in which they committed 11 turnovers, shot only 40 percent from the floor and connected on just 1-of-10 3-point tries.
After falling behind 48-37 with around 12 minutes remaining, Indian Hills used a 3-pointer by Tyrese Nickelson and back-to-back buckets by Chris Payton to get back into the game. They caught up at 53-all on a three by Childs with 5:20 to play, then went ahead on a JD Muila layup. Muila paced IHCC with a season-high 14 points.
The advantage was short-lived, however, after Jacolbey Owens drilled a trey to vault Gulf Coast back on top. Owens added another field goal and Cameron Holden hit two free throws with just over a minute to play gave the Commodores a 61-57 lead.
Tyon Grant-Foster cut the deficit in half with a basket and Malique Jacobs went to the foul line with 46.7 seconds remaining with the opportunity to tie the score. Jacobs split his two free throws to leave IHCC trailing 61-60. The Warriors got the defensive stop they were looking for but couldn't convert it into the winning points when Childs misfired on his attempt with three seconds to play.
Indian Hills wound up hitting only 4-of-20 3-point attempts and shot just five free throws. They didn't get to the line until the 16:54 mark of the second half. Payton and Jacobs, with eight each, led IHCC to a 45-34 advantage in rebounds.
Payton had 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Owens led Gulf Coast State with 17 points.
IHCC will attempt to gain a split in its two-game trip to Florida when it takes on Northwest Florida State Friday night.
GULF COAST STATE 61, INDIAN HILLS 60
Chris Payton 6 0-0 12, Maurice Calloo 0 0-0 0, Tyrese Nickelson 2 0-0 6, Loseni Kamara 0 0-0 0, Chris Childs 3 0-0 7, Malique Jacobs 1 2-4 4, Tyon Grant-Foster 4 0-0 9, Drake Jeffries 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 7 0-1 14, Dedoch Chan 0 0-0 0, Theo Bourgeois 0 0-0 0, Samba Kane 4 0-0 8 Team 27 2-5 60
GULF COAST STATE
Cameron Holden 1 1-4 3, Kevon Godwin 2 1-2 5, Maurice Gordon 6 0-2 12, Grant Howard 3 0-0 6, Travon Mayo 1 0-0 3, Jammy Pierre-Lous 3 0-0 8, Jacolbey Owens 7 0-2 17, Kaylein Marzette 1 0-0 3, Derrick Hardin 1 1-4 3 Team 25 4-14 61
Halftime score: Gulf Coast State 32, Indian Hills 25; Three-point field goals: IHCC 4 (Nickelson 2, Childs 1, Grant-Foster 1), GCS 7 (Owens 3, Pierre-Louis 2, Mayo 1, Marzette 1)