Polk State won the Suncoast Conference Tournament tonight with a 63-55 victory over Hillsborough Community College.
With the win, the Eagles advance to the FCSAA/NJCAA District VIII State Basketball Championship in Ocala.
Polk State (23-8, 8-2, No. 6 FCSAA) will play either Central Florida or Daytona State at 8 p.m. on March 2.
The Eagles trailed 14-6 early in the first half but rallied for a 38-32 lead at halftime.
The Hawks cut the deficit to 56-53 with 6:30 remaining but failed to get any closer.
Head Coach Matt Furjanic was pleased with the way the Eagles bounced back tonight from last week's disappointing loss to St. Petersburg.
"After the St. Pete loss, our guys were a little down, so we tried to get their spirits up and their confidence back. We practiced some different things, and I thought the guys really responded.
"We had a goal. We wanted to go to the state tournament, and I have to give the guys a lot of credit. Hillsborough pulled to within three in the second half, and our guys kept their poise and did a great job. I'm real proud of them tonight."
"Troy Simons made huge shots. He didn't get a chance to shoot much, but when he did his shots were huge because they were three-pointers.
"And I have to give Elijah Cottrill all the credit in the world. He's a sophomore leader, a sophomore point guard, and he had the game of his life tonight. He just took control out there. He knew Troy wasn't going to get his shots. He controlled the offense, he controlled the tempo, he penetrated when he had to, he made big shots, and like all of our guys he stepped up. I have to give the sophomores a lot of credit."
Elijah Cottrill and Troy Simons led the Eagles, scoring 17 points each.
Reger Baker had 11 points, while Karim Mouliom and Djuro Pantos each added six.