CHIPLEY — Put a hand in their face and Chipley standouts Trent Forrest and Tyrome Sharpe will put the ball on the floor and attack the basket.
Sag off defensively and the Tigers’ electrifying duo will rain down 3-pointers all night.
Port St. Joe simply ran out of ways to defend Forrest and Sharpe, and Chipley pulled away in the second half to earn a 66-41 home victory in a Region 3-1A boys basketball semifinal Tuesday night.
The Tigers, who are seeking their second state championship in three years, will host West Gadsden — a 61-54 winner over Bratt Northview on Tuesday — in the regional finals on Friday night at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the Class 1A state semifinals in Lakeland next week.
Forrest fired in 31 points to power the Tigers. He scored 11 points from the foul line before he made a bucket from the floor, and he overwhelmed PSJ’s defense with relentless drives to the basket that resulted either in a layup or a trip to the foul line.
“I just want to see if I can get to the rack,” Forrest said. “If I can’t, I trust my teammates to knock down the shot.”
Chipley held a 13-10 lead through the first eight minutes before Forrest and Sharpe took control in the second quarter. They scored seven points apiece to help the Tigers stretch their lead to 35-27 at halftime.
Tigers coach Joel Orlando slowed the pace in the third quarter, and Forrest and Sharpe combined for nine of Chipley’s 11 points to extend the margin to 46-33 going into the final quarter. Chipley unleashed a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Sharpe finished with 16 points for the Tigers. He is the lone holdout from the Chipley team that won a state title two years ago.
:”I can’t really make a comparison,” Sharpe said of the two teams. “Both teams work hard. It’s different teams with different players, but (the effort) is basically the same thing.”
Justin Campbell added 10 points off the bench for Chipley, taking advantage of gaps in the Tiger Sharks’ defense as PSJ focused on impeding Forrest and Sharpe.
TJ Williams and JD Davis scored nine and eight points, respectively, for PSJ.
PORT ST. JOE (41) — Marq. Johnson 5, Williams 9, Odom 6, Davis 8, Marc. Johnson 3, Clemons 6, Quinn 2, Batson 2.
CHIPLEY (66) — Sims 3, Forrest 31, Sharpe 16, Lee 4, Campbell 10, Hall 2.
Port St. Joe 10 17 6 8 — 41
Chipley 13 22 11 20 — 66