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1A: Chipley Pulls away from Paxton for 1A Title

February 24, 2016
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1A: Chipley Pulls away from Paxton for 1A Title

Trailing by two points at the half, defending Class 1A champion Chipley outscored Paxton 39-10 in the second half to win its second 1A title in a row.

The Tigers, led by Florida State signee Trent Forrest’s 26 points, defeated Paxton 65-38 on Wednesday at The Lakeland Center.

Perhaps the key statistic in the game was second-half field-goal percentage: Chipley was 13-for-23 in the second half while Paxton made just 2 of 20 of its shots.

“At halftime, we regrouped and made some adjustments,” Chipley coach Mike Gates said.

One of those adjustments was putting Forrest on Paxton’s top scorer, Zach Varnum, who had 12 points at halftime.

“I told Gates I wanted to guard him,” Forrest said. “We just stuck to the game plan and made our defensive adjustments. We just stayed on them and stayed aggressive the whole time.”

Varnum, who finished with 18 points, made just 1 of 8 shots in the second half and four of his six second-half points came from the free-throw line.

“In the second half, we just couldn’t get anything to go,” said Paxton coach Jeff Bradley.

Offensively, Adrian Sims, who finished with 16 points, was 5-for-8 from 3-point range — 4 of 5 in the second half — and that helped open the middle for Forrest, who had 14 second-half points.

“When we were warming up at halftime, I kept hitting shots and they kept giving it to me to keep shooting,” Sims said. “I kept going to that same spot (in the game) and they kept feeding it to me. It kept feeling good off my hands.”

With his 26 points on Wednesday, Forrest finished his career as Chipley’s all-time leading scorer with 3,103 points.

Although it was Chipley’s third state championship in five years and second in a row, it was the first for Gates as the Tigers’ head coach. He was a longtime assistant coach for Chipley before becoming the head coach this year.

Justin Campbell added 12 points for the Tigers (28-3). Paxton finished the season 27-4.

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