Paxton holds off Chipley for Class 1A championship


Chipley finished as state runner-up for the second straight season.

Lakeland Ledger photo
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 16:38 PM.

LAKELAND — Chipley’s final push for a state championship was timed two minutes too soon.

The Tigers rallied to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Paxton regained control in the final minute to beat Chipley 39-34 in the Class 1A girls basketball state championship at The Lakeland Center on Wednesday.

Chipley collected its second consecutive runner-up finish at state and finished the year 25-6. Paxton earned the fifth state championship in program history with the victory and ended the season 26-3.

The Tigers led 25-20 early in the third quarter before turnovers allowed Paxton to unleash a 10-0 run to take a 30-25 lead into the fourth quarter. The Bobcats, who forced 33 turnovers a day earlier against Chiefland in the semifinals, scored four buckets off of Chipley turnovers in the third quarter.

“I wasn’t concerned,” Chipley coach Kimberly Tuel said. “I thought we’d get back on track.”

Bethany Neale gave Paxton a 32-27 lead with a basket with 5:49 left in the game. Chipley held the Bobcats without a point over the next five minutes, however, and reeled off seven straight points to seize a 34-32 lead with Alivia Thomas’ free throw with 2:42 remaining.

That amounted to Chipley’s last point of the game.

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