Saturday, February 25, 2012
CF Patriots 77, FSC-Jacksonville 65 (MBB)
Watch the game again via PSBLive.com.
conference standings. CF is the conference champ by virtue of its 2-1 head-to-head advantage over the Saints this season. The first-place tie eliminates the need for a conference playoff and sends both CF and SFC straight to the FCSAA State Tournament.
The Patriots, a state semifinalist a year ago, will face the runner-up of the Panhandle Conference when the eight-team FCSAA Tournament opens Wednesday, March 7 in Marianna. That opponent is likely to be either Pensacola or tournament host Chipola.
The MFC title is the third in the last four seasons for CF and fifth in the nine-year tenure of head coach Tim Ryan. The Patriots have missed the postseason just once under Ryan, in 2004-05. Under MFC rules, Ryan will be named conference coach of the year.
The win also marks the first time the program has won back-to-back conference titles, making returning sophomores Alhaji Fullah, Brian Pace, Steven Shipwash and Hunter Williams the program's first two-time MFC champions.
The Patriots tipped off against the Stars just minutes after Santa Fe finished off a 77-62 win at St. Johns River. The win clinched a postseason berth for the 10-2 Saints, putting pressure on CF to win its game and join them in the postseason.
CF did just that behind an early barrage that built its lead as high as 14 in the first half and some clutch plays down the stretch.
The Stars took their first lead at 59-58 with 8 minutes to play, and the teams exchanged baskets for the following few minutes until Christian Martinez nailed a deep 3-pointer to give CF a 65-63 lead with 5 minutes remaining.
Luis Jacobo's long bomb restored a two-possession game 90 seconds later at 69-65, and his driving bank shot on the next CF trip pushed the lead to 6 points. The resurgent Patriots enjoyed a double-digit lead again soon after and prepared to celebrate their achievement.
Martinez led the Patriots in scoring with 19 points, while Williams added 14 points and Jacobo scored 13.