The question wasn't would Malone blow out Bayshore Christian in Friday's Class B boys state basketball championship.
The question was when.
Bayshore delayed its execution for the first two quarters before the Tigers eventually staked their claim as one of the state's best teams in any classification with a convincing 85-51 victory.
Playing a schedule that was dotted with Class 5A and 4A powers, Malone won 36 games by an average margin of 24 points while losing two by a total of nine. Combine that with an incredible basketball tradition _ nine state championships _ and it was easy to understand why the Tigers, ranked No. 1 all season, were heavily favored.
"We didn't talk about being No. 1 because there's pressure just being Malone," Tigers coach John Ellerbee said. "There's only one standard for Malone basketball, and that's excellence."
In Class 2A, Des Baxter scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half Friday to lead Port St. Joe to a 67-61 victory over West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman in the state Class 4A championship game.
The Sharks (27-7) started slow, but outscored Cardinal Newman 16-5 in the second quarter to take a 27-19 lead at intermission.
The Crusaders didn't close to within six again until the final 1:30 with the Port St. Joe reserves in the game.
Jermaine Larry scored all but two of his 15 in the second half to join Baxter in double figures for the Sharks.
Tim McCoobray paced Cardinal Newman with 24, and Eddie Shannon scored 21.
Williams, Reid win state's top honors
TALLAHASSEE _ LeRon Williams of Bradenton Southeast was named Mr. Basketball on Friday, signifying the state's best male basketball player.
Tracy Reid of Miami Central was named Miss Basketball.
Malone's John Ellerbee and Jacksonville Ribault's Al Austin were named top boys and girls coaches.
Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 24.2 points and 13.8 rebounds. Although South Miami's Charlie Miller received more first-place votes, Williams got more total votes. Anddrikk Frazier of Tampa Prep was fifth in the voting.
Reid averaged 29 points a game and has been invited to the U.S. Olympic tryouts. St. Cloud's Dana Smith finished second in the voting.
_ Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.