COTTONDALE – Tyrome Sharpe and Trent Forrest combined for 42 points to lift the Chipley Tigers to a 79-69 road victory over the Cottondale Hornets on Thursday night.
It was the regular season-opener for the Tigers, who were coming off of a pair of impressive preseason wins over Mosley and Rutherford.
But the Hornets, who fell to 0-2 with the loss, hung close for much of the way with the talented Tigers but could not get closer than eight points in the second half.
The duo of Sharpe and Forrest proved too tough for Cottondale to overcome, with Sharpe putting in 22 points and Forrest 20.
After Cottondale had cut a 14-point third quarter lead down to nine with 1:22 in the period, a big three-pointer by Sharpe and an offensive put-back by Zack Campbell put Chipley back up 14 going into the fourth.
Sharpe added another triple to start the final period to give the Tigers a 65-49 edge.
After five straight points from Tre Lee got the Hornets back to within 11, Bradley Hall’s put-back and a steal and dunk by Forrest pushed the margin back to 15 at 69-54 with just over five minutes to play.
A three-pointer by JJ Holmes all but iced the win for the Tigers in making it 77-63 with 2:30 to play.
Campbell added 16 points for the Tigers, with Hall scoring 12 points and hurting the undersized Hornets on the offensive glass all night.
Cottondale stayed close thanks to some hot shooting from long distance, with Lee knocking in six of the team’s 10 three-pointers on the night and leading all scorers with a career-high 26 points.
Mike Gallon added 14 points for the Hornets, with Kadeem Webb scoring 11, Dakota Haddock eight, and Tristan Braxton seven.
Chipley led 42-30 at halftime, but a four-point play by Braxton brought the Hornets to within eight on the first play of the second half.
But as was the case all night, the Tigers had an answer for every Cottondale surge, with Campbell knocking in a corner triple, followed by a bucket from Forrest and an offensive rebound and put-back by Daniel Floyd to make it 49-34.
The Hornets came back with a 7-0 run featuring a three by Webb, a bucket by Haddock, and a baseline jumper by Gallon, but Campbell again had the answer with a triple to get it back to double figures, and a jumper by Forrest made it 57-45 Chipley late in the third.
Cottondale will next play at home Tuesday against the Altha Wildcats in the Hornets’ district opener, while Chipley will be off until Dec. 6 against district foe Jay.