Once, Twice, Three times a Champion is what the Lanett Panthers became last Friday morning after winning the Alabama Class 2A State Basketball Championship for the third consecutive time.
It’s hard enough for a team to win one State Championship, but to win three State Championships in a row is almost unheard of.
The Panthers defeated St. Luke›s in the Championship game 41-38 to become 3-peat Champions.
It was a cat fight from the outset with the Panthers and Wildcats going toe to toe for 32 minutes.
The only time it seemed like either team had an advantage was in the second quarter when the Panthers went on a 12-3 run to give them a 24-17 halftime lead.
After the intermission, St. Luke›s slowly but surely chipped away at the Panther lead to close the gap by the end of the third quarter.
The Panthers held on to a slim 32-30 lead as the fourth quarter began.The Wildcats continued to battle with the reigning 2A State Champion Panthers and eventually took a 34-33 lead. But the Panthers were not ready to relinquish their crown yet and countered with Anquavious Pollard scoring two consecutive baskets to put Lanett up for good.
The Wildcats had their chances late, but came up short with a couple of missed three pointers.Late free-throws by Quae Houston and Bridges help ice the game for the Panthers.
Lanett played arguably one of its worst games on the season going 13-35 from the field (no made 3-point baskets) and being out rebounded 34-32.But in the end the Panthers came out on top and reclaimed the right to be called 2A State Basketball Champions once again.
As the buzzer sounded chants of 3-peat roared from the Panther nation in the stands.
Senior Anquavious Pollard was named to the all-tournament team for his tournament play. Pollard ended the night with 12-points and 8 rebounds. Senior Manny Littles was also named to the all-tournament team, finishing the night with 13-points and 10 boards. Littles was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player
Coach Richard Carter was nothing but smiles as he embraced his third straight championship. It took Carter 45 years before getting his first championship, and now he has three.
Lanett is one of only ten Alabama schools to ever 3-peat as Champions.
Congratulations to the Lanett Panthers, 2017-18 Class 2A State Basketball Champions.