By NWF DAILY NEWS
NICEVILLE — NWF State coach Steve DeMeo hailed Chipola as one of the best teams in the country prior to Saturday night's showdown at The Arena in Niceville.
A surprise to no one, DeMeo's Raider crew isn't too shabby either, taking the Indians to school, 95-84 to keep their Panhandle Conference record spotless through three games.
The No. 8 Raiders (17-2 overall, 3-0 Panhandle Conference), who have now won three straight after dropping a game to Shelton State on a last-minute 3-pointer, outscored No. 11 Chipola 51-37 in the first half Saturday, and the Indians had to play from behind the entire night.
Sophomore Eric Vila, a 6-foot-11 forward, led NWF State with a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double, connecting on 10-of-14 shots from the floor. Sophomore guard Javion Hamlet wasn't far behind with 23 points and seven assists, and Oregon-bound guard Chris Duarte scored 19.
The Raiders shot 54.1 percent from the floor for the game.
Sophomore Keishawn Brewton, one of five Indians to reach double-digit scoring figures, led Chipola (18-2, 1-1) with 14 points, though he shot just 5-of-13 from the floor, and his team shot only 42.9 percent.
With the victory, the Raiders emphatically reestablished they are the team to beat in the Panhandle, as they also hold a 15-point home win over Pensacola State and a 13-point road win at Gulf Coast State.
Next up, the Raiders hit the road to take on Tallahassee Community College at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.