MARIANNA—The top 16 community college basketball teams in Florida will begin arriving in Marianna Tuesday for the Florida Junior College Men's and Women’s State Basketball Tournament set for March 4-7 in Chipola’s Milton H. Johnson Health Center.
Some 400 basketball players along with coaches, cheerleaders and fans will fill nearly 200 hotel rooms during the tourney. Teams will begin practice Tuesday in the Johnson Center and in local high school gyms. Each team is assigned a local host family to help with any need that may arise during the tournament.
Numerous Division I College coaches and recruiters also are expected to scout the talent in the competition. Tournament officials estimate that more than $250,000 will flow into the area during the tournament from food, lodging, recreation and incidental expenses.
The women’s tournament tips off Wednesday, March 4, at 1 p.m. (CST) as Central Florida takes on Hillsborough. At 3 p.m., Gulf Coast takes on Miami Dade. Chipola plays Santa Fe at 6 p.m. Indian River and Northwest Florida meet in the 8 p.m. nightcap on Wednesday.
Men’s action begins Thursday, March 5, at 1 p.m. as Polk takes on Santa Fe. At 3 p.m., Gulf Coast meets Miami-Dade. Chipola plays Hillsborough at 6:00 p.m. Central Florida and Broward play in the 8 p.m. nightcap on Thursday.
Men’s and women’s semi-finals are set for Friday, March 6, with women’s games at 1 and 6 p.m. and men’s contests at 3 and 8 p.m. The State Championship title games are set for Saturday, March 7, with the women at 5 p.m., and the men at 7:30 p.m. Champions advance to the NJCAA National Tournaments, in Hutchinson, KS, and Salina, KS.
The Jackson County Tourist Development Council awarded a $10,000 grant to help promote and operate the tournament. Waste Management is official host sponsor for the event. Other sponsors include: the Florida Lottery, Florida Credit Union League, Community South Credit Union, Focus Credit Union, Jackson County Teachers Credit Union and Tyndall Federal Credit Union.
Tournament passes—$25 for adults and $15 for students—will get fans into all 14 exciting tournament games. Single session tickets—two games—are $10 each.
For ticket information, call 718-2220, or visit the official tourney web site at: www.chipola.edu