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IN TRAFFIC: Lanett sophomore Trey Abner looks to make a pass over Valley’s defense on Friday night. Photo by Rashad Milligan

Panthers punish Rams on the boards, run away with 65-41 victory at Valley

VALLEY — The experience and size of Lanett were just too much for Valley, who lost 65-41 on Friday night.

“We played a good first half,” Valley head basketball coach Marshon Harper said. “After halftime, their size came into play, and it looked like the stage was a little too big for us at times. When we couldn’t get into our half-court offensive sets, they were getting second shots, third shots, we couldn’t get any rebounds. I did think that we played hard at times. You could see some good things, you could see some bad things. We have some things we can correct, and some things we can work on.”

The energy was high from before tipoff with the crowd already buzzing from the exciting end to the girls game. Both teams came out and warmed up to songs off of 21 Savage’s new “I Am> I Was” album to get all in attendance ready for the showdown. The cheerleaders and student sections from the rival schools went back-and-forth at each other with cheers from the stands throughout the matchup.

The Rams attempted to use that energy in the building to get out and outrun Lanett, but the Panthers ended their hopes early with an effective full-court press. When Valley attempt to press and play zone defensively, one of Lanett’s big men like seniors Dee Dobbs or Jayshon Burton slipped behind for easy opportunities for the rest of the team.

For the second consecutive game, Zameron Boozer led the team in scoring. The junior finished with 19 points on Friday night. He had back-to-back buckets in the first half that swung the momentum in Lanett’s favor, including a putback dunk off of a miss that got the crowd on its feet.

Another play that was a big momentum-shifter for Lanett came at the end of the second quarter when Kristian Story took a couple of steps past half court and banked in a deep three at the buzzer going into halftime. Story’s shot pushed Lanett’s lead to double digits going into the break.

Burton also finished in double digits as Lanett’s second-leading scorer with 10 points, while Seidron Langston, Quae Houston, Dobbs, Story, Kaylen Dunn, Tae Hurston and B.J. Smith got on the board for the Panthers as well.

T.J. Winston took things offensively into his own hands with a pair of baskets in the first quarter that kept Valley in the game early on. The senior forward finished with 7 points, 3 steals, 2 blocks, a rebound and an assist. Markavious Atkinson and Davontrez Daniel led Valley in scoring with 9 points each. Jacquez Trammell, K.D. Hutchinson, B.J. Baker and Kintavious Dozier also got on the board for the Rams.

Lanett returns to area play on Tuesday night at Wadley, while Valley will host Brewbaker Tech the same night.