Lady Panthers refuse to lose on senior night

Published 8:23 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

It was senior night in Lanett and the Lady Panthers refused to lose as they defeated Callaway 66-62 in overtime. 

The Panthers found their way back into the game late in the fourth period as Armani Langdon’s putback gave Lanett the lead with 1:50 left in regulation. Callaway proved to be a tough team to put away as the Cavs connected on a three with 14 seconds left to send the game to overtime. 

Early in overtime Callaway’s best defender, Lacey Thomas, fouled out of the game. From there, Laila Lancaster was able to dominate the glass. With six seconds left, Christiana Brock connected on a free throw that effectively sealed the game. 

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The matchup on Saturday was night and day from when the two teams matched up earlier in the season, with Callaway winning 50-15. The Panthers saw this second matchup with the Cavs as an opportunity to prove themselves and send the seniors out the right way. 

“Last time we played them we felt like we didn’t bring our best effort, and they embarrassed us,” Lanett coach Charlie Williams said. “When you get embarrassed in basketball, you’ve got to come and prove your metal. I know what me and my coaches have built our program on. We’ve built our program on toughness and working hard. They showed it today.” 

Laila Lancaster was a dominant force for the Panthers on Saturday, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Lancaster rarely came out in the game and left it all on the court. 

“She’s a senior, and she told me ‘I don’t want my last memories at Lanett to be this tall girl who didn’t live up to the expectations.’ I’ve never had a doubt about Laila. Laila sets high goals for herself, and when she doesn’t reach them she gets down on herself. People think she has a bad attitude, but she doesn’t.” 

MaKiah White was just as dominant in the matchup, finishing with 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Nakeriona Heard followed with 10 points, and Cameron Boozer and Je’nyiah Glaze each finished with eight points. 

The seniors, Glaze, Boozer and Lancaster have been with Williams for multiple final four runs, and they have been a major part of building Lanett’s program. 

“They’ve been with me since seventh grade,” Williams said. “Cameron Boozer, she’s probably my most consistent player this year. Her growth since seventh grade has been tremendous. I’m going to miss her. Je’nyiah Glaze too, she’s a great senior. Lanett has good kids, and I’m blessed to have good kids on my team.” 

The Panthers are now 14-4 on the season with four games left in the regular season. Lanett is positioning itself for another deep playoff run in 2A. 

“We’re a veteran-laden group,” Williams said. “With the exception of maybe three girls, all these girls have been on my final four teams. They understand what time of the season it is now.”