Malone Returns Home, Championship Trophy in Hand

Malone, FL---The Malone Tigers are back home and getting the kind of homecoming deserving of a state champion.

The Tigers capturing the 1A state title Thursday with a 76-61 win over Hamilton in the championship game. After thinking about hitting one of the theme parks in central Florida to celebrate, the team chose instead to come straight home Friday morning.

The Tigers getting back around 2 p.m. Friday toting the 1A state championship trophy with them.

Plenty of students, faculty and local fans greeting the Tigers in the gym upon their return. And in fact an impromtu ceremony held to honor the team.

This is the 14th state championship for that program, second all time in state history behind Miami High's 18.

Coach Steve Welch has been a part of two of those titles, one as a player in '91, and now this one!

"I have to keep looking down at this shirt to make sure that it's real." coach Welch told us Friday. "We started thinking about it and talking about it, it's been so elusive and a long time coming."

Malone Principal Doug Powell talked about the support the team received and how it's reaping the reward.

"It's great for the community. So many people followed them all year. Just having them show up, even today. Malone used to win so much, and it was every year and it got taken for granted. And finally to come back, it was just awesome."