Lady Panthers’ dominant defense leads Lanett to another area title

Published 9:28 pm Monday, February 5, 2024

The Lady Panthers returned to a place that has become familiar to them as Lanett won another area championship 43-14 over LaFayette. 

The game got out of hand quickly, with Lanett completely dominating on defense. After LaFayette scored to cut Lanett’s lead to two early in the first period, the Panthers went on a 23-0 run and allowed just two points for the rest of the first half. 

The Panthers have completely dominated their area this season, going undefeated throughout area play and winning each game in the area tournament by 25 points or more. 

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“It’s not about domination, it’s just good consistent play as a program,” Lanett coach Charlie Williams said. “When I took this program over, I was in the midst of a three-peat on the boys side. I’ve always been looking up trying to reach that status. Now I feel like we’re close to that point.” 

Tyra Jackson and Laila Lancaster were dominant on the inside for Lanett, leading the team with 10 points apiece. 

The name of the game for the Lady Panthers was extra possessions. Lanett corralled 20 offensive rebounds in the game, with most of those leading to buckets. The Panthers also forced 19 turnovers and consistently got out in transition. 

Nakeriona Heard led that charge for the Panthers, playing with an even higher level of intensity in the postseason. Heard finished with seven points in the game, but it was her leadership, passing and attitude on defense that made the difference. 

“She brought the energy,” Williams said “She told me earlier this morning, ‘Coach I’m going to have the energy for you today.’ She knows this is a different time of the year.” 

The Panthers have battled through injuries all season, but the team has consistently found ways to win, improving to 19-4 with the win on Monday. Players like Makaila Davis, Christiana Brock, Trinity Abner and Tyra Jackson have taken on larger roles as the season has progressed. 

“They don’t know when their name is going to get called, so they just stay prepared,” Williams said. 

The Panthers will be back in action on Friday as they host the area runner-up from Area 12 for the sub-regionals. The Bulldogs will travel to face the champion from Area 12 in the sub-regionals.