Lanett boys basketball in a class of its own

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It became clear at this week’s Northeast Regional basketball tournament that there are some good teams in Class 2A.

Three of the state’s top boys squads — Section, Vincent and LaFayette — competed at Jacksonville State University. They all demonstrated flashes of brilliance.

But they didn’t compare to Lanett.

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Over the course of 64 minutes, the Panthers showcased their skill, speed and overwhelming talent en route to a spot in the state final four. Lanett nearly doubled up Vincent, 2A’s second-ranked team, in the regional semifinal, 62-33.

The Panthers then dissected Section, 2A’s top-ranked team, in the regional final, 76-52.

They made it look easy.

Lanett wore its opponents down with aggressive defense, strong rebounding and accurate shooting. But that’s what the team has done all season.

Vincent, like other former foes,  struggled immensely to break the Panthers’ smothering full-court press. As a result, they turned the ball over 25 times.

Lanett did not deploy its press with the same frequency against Section. Instead, the Panthers crashed the glass. Led by towering forwards Anquaevious Pollard and Emanuel Littles, Lanett finished with 25 more rebounds than the other team. There are few, if any, other squads in 2A that can match Lanett’s interior presence. Opponents simply don’t have the size.

While Pollard and Littles owned the paint against Section, Ty Truitt lit it up from outside. The fiery point guard drained eight 3-pointers and poured in 40 points.

He called it the best game of his life. It came at the right time.

Now, the Panthers will turn their attention to the state tournament. With a third straight title on the line, they will be hard to stop.