Panthers host tournament in memory of Kawana Tucker

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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Lanett will be hosting a volleyball tournament for the first time in its program history this Saturday.

Lanett is set to host the Kawana Tucker Memorial Tournament starting at 9:30 a.m. Lanett, Randolph County, Valley and Booker T. Washington will all compete in the tournament. 

This tournament will serve as the season opener for Valley. Lanett will face LaFayette on Thursday, so the tournament will serve as their second competition. 

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Lanett will face Randolph County to start the tournament while Valley will face Booker T. Washington. The tournament will be double elimination. Tickets will cost $10 per person, and they are available for purchase at the door or on S2 pass. 

The tournament’s namesake comes from Lanett’s former assistant coach. Kawana Tucker was a beloved assistant coach of the volleyball team that passed away just before the season last year. 

“She was a very integral part of our team,” Head Coach Krisse Story said. “The glue that held us together. She planned our workouts for the summer. The girls respected her and honored her. When we lost her, it was a big piece of the puzzle that was missing.” 

Story said that Tucker was an integral part of Lanett High School.

“She was very instrumental just across the board,” Story said. “Across the board, she was just a very important part.” 

Due to the timing of Tucker’s passing last year, Lanett was unable to put something like this tournament together last season. Now, Lanett looks to honor their assistant coach on Saturday. 

“Oh goodness, it means everything,” Story said. “To be able to do it this year means everything and to have the full support of our athletic director and our administration at Lanett City Schools makes it even more special. She was just that special. For everybody to be on board and in agreement for us to honor her this way is extra special.” 

The money from ticket sales will go back into the volleyball program. The money will help to pay for the team’s spirit packs, travel expenses and other things related to the volleyball program. 

Lanett is not just looking to host the tournament, the Panthers want to win on their home floor in honor of Tucker.

“I think that anything outside of a win would be gut wrenching,” Story said. “Certainly because it’s in honor of Coach Kawana, it’s extremely important for us to play well.” 

The tournament Lanett will host this Saturday will serve multiple purposes for the program. 

First and foremost, the tournament will be held to honor their late assistant coach. 

Another plus for hosting the tournament is that Lanett gets the opportunity to play on the weekend. 

Last season, the area tournament was held on a Saturday. Lanett did not have much experience in Saturday games, and Story felt like it was not their best performance. Story hopes this tournament will help the girls perform later in the year.