Malone and Chipley: Two Programs, One Goal - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Malone and Chipley: Two Programs, One Goal

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Wednesday morning, two area boys basketball teams take the floor in Lakeland for the Class 1A State Semifinals. The Chipley Tigers are looking for the second title in three seasons. The Malone Tigers, are looking for their 14th overall. Two different legacies, one up and coming, the other rich with tradition.

"I'm just ready to get there, get it all done," laughed Chipley senior Logan Justice.

"Everybody's excited to get down there," said Malone Senior Chai Baker.

From Chipley or Malone, the feeling is mutual- Lakeland is the place you want to be, and the Tigers of Chipley are hungry for their second title.

"Soon as we step in there, and it's actually time to play, and we've made it that far, just hope that God help us and let us get the win, and even a State Championship," said Chipley sophomore Trent Forrest. 

While the Chipley Tigers are looking to create a legacy, the Malone Tigers are looking to bring theirs back to life. The Tigers have 13 State Championships dating back to 1952. They haven't won one since 1998, but this year, they're looking to add another date to their gym wall.

"Those whispers happen here every year, regardless of talent level or expectations," said Malone head coach Steven Welch. "This is Malone and that's always the expectation and the goal."

"I don't think anyone's ever gonna match what Malone has done," said Chipley head coach Joel Orlando. "They have set the bar so high. I honestly believe it'll never be matched."

The bar is high, but Chipley's gotten past the Tigers once, two years ago en route to that first Title.

"Speaking from experience, Panhandle basketball in Class 1A is extremely tough," said coach Welch.

"The last two years we were heartbroken, and we don't want that no more so we got it done this year," agreed Baker.

They got it done, but there is still much work to do. If both Tiger teams win Wednesday's Semifinals, they will face each other. Again. But unlike in 2012, this time, it'd be for a ring.

"We just wanted to get here. So now, we just have to take the opportunity and go with it," said Forrest.

"Seeing all these State Championships, it makes you want to get your own," said Malone Junior Antwain Johnson.

"For this community and this school that I love, we just want to be a part of it," said coach Welch. "We're a step closer. We're just going to take another step tomorrow."

Two programs. One goal, and on Thursday both look to add another State Championship to their legacy. Malone takes the floor first on Wednesday morning, at 11:00/CT when they face Chiefland. Chipley plays Hamilton County at 12:30/CT. If they both win, they'll face each other Thursday for the Class 1A State Championship.