Region 1-1A boys: Chai Baker leads Malone surge past Chipley

Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 11:36 PM.

MALONE — It wasn’t the greatest basketball victory in school history at title-rich Malone, but there’s no mistaking it sent a message to the rest of Class 1A.

Malone surged past defending state champion Chipley 61-50 on Tuesday behind Chai Baker’s 29 points in their Region 1-1A semifinal. It was Malone’s second win over Chipley this season and reinforced the notion that it’s one of the favorites to win the 1A crown.

Tuesday simply was another step in potentially winning championship No. 14 at the school and the first since 1998. While there have been bigger wins, obviously, the importance of the outcome couldn’t be discounted.

It helped Malone (24-3) avenge last season’s regional final loss to Chipley (22-6) and provided momentum heading into Saturday’s encounter with Chris Walker and Holmes County in Bonifay.

Malone used a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Malone’s defense held Chipley without a basket through six minutes, finally clamping down on Trent Forrest, who led all scorers with 31 points.

“I think a lot of it was fatigue setting in, he had the ball in his hand all night,” Malone coach Steve Welch said. “We ran several guys at him and he had to work for every basket.”

Forrest scored 20 points in the middle quarters to help Chipley stay close. However, his cold streak through much of the fourth carried over to the team.

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