Justin Cecil scored 11 of his 14 points after halftime, including a go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute and a pair of free throws to help seal the victory. Ricardo Ratliffe scored a game-high 17 points, and six other players scored between 5 and 9 points in a well-rounded CF offensive attack.
The win finally qualifies the Patriots (26-6) for next week's eight-team state tournament, a goal that proved far more elusive than they pictured early in the season. But a pair of losses to MFC champion Daytona State forced CF to scrap for the MFC's other postseason slot through the conference tournament, where the Patriots fought off challenges from St. Johns River and Santa Fe to extend their season.
CF's reward is a matchup with FCCAA No. 1 Northwest Florida State, the former Okaloosa-Walton. NWFS beat the Patriots 88-79 on Dec. 4, coincidentally on the exact Chipola College court the teams will meet on in the state quarterfinal. That game is set for 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 3.
Game highlights at the CF Patriots YouTube channel:
Note: Tuesday night's game concluded Central Florida's home basketball schedule for the 2009-2010 season. On behalf of Patriots coach Tim Ryan, Lady Patriots coach Cheryl Rice, Director of Athletics Bob Zelinski and Central Florida Community College, thank you for your outstanding support and attendance at our games throughout this exciting season of Patriots and Lady Patriots basketball.