LANETT, Al. (WRBL) – Lanett High School has become used to celebrating a trip to the AHSAA Boys Basketball State Championship game. Even though it’s become a routine, the team says it’s special every single time.
“It feels great. I’m not ready to leave yet. All the fun and excitement we’re getting from the community. All the school system showing us love right now. It’s just a great time to be a Panther right now,” said Lanett Boys Head Coach Tay McCants.
The road to this year’s AHSAA Final Four was tougher than usual. The Panthers had to deal with a brand new way of playing with COVID-19 protocols, but there was also a devastating fire at Lanett’s athletic facility that changed everything. The Panthers home gym is still unavailable to be used.
The Panthers, who were still in the middle of their season, had to play playoff games in Lanett’s community center. Those obstacles just fueled the team’s fire to keep on going.
“At one point in time when we came off of quarantine we had two practices a day. It was hard but we all came together and we stayed together,” said senior Kintavious Dozier.
No one would have blamed this team for losing focus with all these other issues off the court. Instead of breaking down under that pressure the Lanett boys came together.
“This season really means a lot because of the many obstacles it threw at us. It brought us all close together as a team. We all like to complete this one goal and it’s a championship,” said Dozier.
The Panther don’t want to just add another piece of hardware to their trophy case. For this season it’s all about bringing some healing back to their home town.
“These people have been behind us since the start of the season. It feels very great. We just don’t want to go and disappoint them man. I don’t think we’ll disappoint them,” said Dozier.
“It’s a lot for the community to smile about right now. We’re getting over COVID. We’re getting over the fire, and now we got to get to this state championship and win it,” said Coach McCants.
The Lanett Panthers will take on Midfield for the Class 2A State Championship on Saturday at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena. Tip off for that game is set for 11:30 AM Central Time.