Lanett Lady Panthers shine in second playdate

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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Lanett’s girls basketball team traveled to Roanoke on Tuesday to participate in their second playdate of the summer. 

The team performed well for it being just their second bit of action of the summer. 

Lanett played Handley in their second matchup of the day. This matchup had more intensity than most regular season games. 

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“Oh Handley, they bring the best out of us,” Head Coach Charlie Williams said. “Our girls see Handley across the jersey, they ready to play. 

Nakerriona Heard plays point guard for Lanett and is one of the leaders on the team. She was the star of their first playdate and nothing changed in their second playdate. 

“She’s not afraid of the moment,” Williams said. “She’s been playing with me since she’s been in the seventh grade. Every year she’s got gradually better.” 

To start the second half of the game, Handley went on an 8-0 run. Lanett was still able to respond and win the game. 

“Handley gone come out and punch back,” Williams said. “She’s [Courtney Strain] got a veteran ball club. She’s a great coach herself. They always punch back. So, we weren’t surprised.” 

Officiating tends to be a little more lenient in these playdates as team are getting back used to the game. This makes the playdates have more physicality than a spectator might see during the regular season. 

Due to this physicality, Williams believes that this summer has begun to improve the strength of his team. 

“We getting stronger,” Williams said. “In the regular season  it’s gonna be a little bit more disciplined. So if you can play with discipline in the summertime when you know you’re not gonna get calls, regular season is much easier.” 

A big factor for Lanett this upcoming season will be the team’s size. Lanett’s size in the paint should create mismatches against several teams. 

“It’s always an advantage,” Williams said. Williams said that Nakeriaona Heard’s favorite line is “ladies we got the size”. 

The effort from Lanett was one of the more impressive factors of Lanett’s play in the playdate. 

Every loose ball seemed to go to Lanett because the team was not afraid to dive or get on the floor. 

Lanett’s starters played a heavy amount of minutes in each game. However, conditioning did not seem to be an issue. 

“That’s how we practice,” Williams said. “We practice full pace, full speed, it’s nonstop.”