Tonight, The Warner Robins Demons take on the Jonesboro Cardinals in the first game of the Region 1-AAAAA playoffs. The game will be held at the Demons’ new gymnasium and is set to start at 6pm.
Warner Robins is coming off a big 52-50 road win over the Veterans Warhawks in the Region 1-5A Championship match. This win gave the Demons the region title and secured them as the top-seed in the playoffs. Warner Robins currently has an overall record of 21-4 overall and is averaging 62 points per game. The Demons last played Jonesboro on January 28th and suffered a stunning 55-54 loss in overtime. Warner Robins will certainly be looking to enact some payback tonight as they host the Cards in their brand-new stadium in front of a large turnout of fans.
The Jonesboro Cardinals enter this game following a disappointing Region Tournament in which they took losses to Riverdale (54-46) as well as Fayette Co (53-38). The Cards are ranked as the 4-seed out of 3-AAAAA. The team’s current overall record is 17-10 and they are averaging 58.33 points per game. Jonesboro may have gotten the overtime win over the Demons in their first matchup, but it will be difficult to replicate that victory tonight on Warner Robins’ home turf.
The Demons new gymnasium is named after former late Head Coach Chip Malone, who coached the Boys Varsity team from ‘91-‘09. In his time as Head Coach, Malone led the Demons to three Region Championships, one sweet 16, one Elite 8, and one State Final (runner-up). Malone had a heart transplant several years prior to his passing and in those years dedicated his life to raising money for heart transplant patients all across the nation through his foundation, Chip’n Away at Heart Disease. The Foundation is now run by his widow Cynthia Malone. The gym named in his honor is 45,416 square feet, has a seating capacity of 2,130, and cost an astounding 9.3 million dollars. After months of delays and anticipation from fans, the gym is finally complete and ready for tonight’s big matchup. It seems almost an act of fate that the gym will open this Valentine’s Day in honor of a man who dedicated his life to matters of the heart.
The Demons have state championship aspirations and will be tough to beat in the 5-A State Playoffs. They must not underestimate Jonesboro tonight, though, who will be hungry for another win. The Demons are the better team in this first-round matchup, meaning Jonesboro will have to play lights out and force WR into some errors if they hope to come out on top. The winner of this game will take on either #3 Miller Grove or #2 Kell in the Sweet 16.
Our own Sound and Soul correspondent Greg Elrod recently sat down with Cynthia Malone, Coach Malone’s widow, to talk about the Chip’n Away Foundation and her late husband’s legacy with the Warner Robins Demons. To hear their full conversation, click here.