Lanett High School won its third straight Class 2A boys’ state basketball championship Friday with a 41-38 win over St. Luke’s Episcopal of Mobile. The third one, however, was not in tow until the final second as the Wildcats pushed the Panthers to the limit in the 2A finals of the 96th AHSAA State Basketball Finals Championships at the BJCC Legacy Arena. The state tourney is in its 25th year at the BJCC.
The lead changed 11 times in the contest including five times in the final quarter. Senior Anquavious Pollard’s inside bucket with 4:29 remaining put Coach Richard Carter’s Panthers (26-5) ahead for good – but not ahead by much. The game see-sawed the rest of the way with any a separation of no more than one made shot.
Lanett’s Emmanuel Littles, a 6-foot-7 senior, earned Class 2A state tourney MVP with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the finals. Pollard has 12 points and eight rebounds, and Kristian Story had five points – all on as 5-of-6 free-shooting performance.
St. Luke’s Episcopal (22-9), coached by Kantonio Davis, out-rebounded the Panthers 34-32 and had five less turnovers. Mark Wilcox had 13 points, 14 rebounds and six steals in a superb defensive effort. Jermaine Brown had eight points and five rebounds.
Lanett won the school’s first state basketball title in 2016, followed up in 2017 and became just the 11th school in the state tournament’s 96-year history to win three boys’ state titles in a row. Two schools (Francis Marion and Sacred Heart) have won four and nine have won three (Wenonah, Pickens County, R.C. Hatch, Madison Academy, Brantley, Austinville, Geraldine and Simpson).
Lanett also became just the seventh school to win football and boys’ basketball championships in the same school year. Hoover was the last team to accomplish that feat (2016-17). The first was Sidney Lanier in 1965-67. Six more schools have won state titles in the same calendar year including the first, Colbert County, in 1972.
Raycom Sports is broadcast all finals over its TV network consisting of Raycom affiliates’ Bounce and D-2 channels. WAFF TV 48 in Huntsville and WBRC TV 6 in Birmingham aired the 2A girls’ finals over their main channels, WTVM TV 9 in Columbus (GA) will air the Class 5A boys’ finals between Eufaula and Sylacauga, and WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery plans to air the Class 6A boys’ finals featuring Carver-Montgomery versus Paul Bryant Saturday over their main channels.
The NFHS Network is also live-streaming all finals over its subscriber-based platform, and the AHSAA Radio Network is broadcasting the championship games over its state-wide radio network and website.
CLASS 2A BOYS ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Emmanuel Littles, Lanett (MVP); Anquavious Pollard, Lanett; Mark Wilcox, St. Luke’s Episcopal; Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal; C.J. Yarbrough, Tanner; Jaquan Lee, Aliceville.
COURTESY AHSAA MEDIA RELATIONS