Chipley, Malone boys eye Class 1A state semifinal berths

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 04:35 PM.

CHIPLEY — Life on the basketball court either gets tougher from here or 100 percent easier.

Chipley and West Gadsden square off Friday in a Region 2-1A regional final boys basketball game, and at stake is a berth in the Class 1A state tournament set to begin next week in Lakeland. In the Region 1-1A final, Malone will host Paxton. Both games start at 7 p.m.

West Gadsden followed up on its second-place finish at state last year with a District 4-1A title this season, and the Panthers (19-3) present Chipley (21-2) with its biggest challenge of the postseason thus far.

“Traditionally they are very athletic, big and strong,” Chipley coach Joel Orlando said. “They have a very fiery way of playing. They are high energy and cause a lot of havoc and turnovers.”

The Tigers are led by sophomore Trent Forrest and junior Tyrome Sharpe, the two of whom combined for 47 of Chipley’s 66 points in a rout of Port St. Joe in the regional semifinals. Orlando compared them favorably to former Chipley tandem Alex Hamilton and Cameron Dozier, who led the Tigers to a Class 1A state championship two years ago.

“They are a very good 1-2 punch, for lack of a better term, just like Alex and Cameron” Orlando said. “They play well with each other. They don’t have to be our leading scorer necessarily for us to win, but we would like for them to be.”

Forrest, who poured in 31 points in the regional semis, is 6-foot-4, and Orlando said he is a “young 15 years old.”

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