The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 26, 2013

Smith’s free-throws send Tanner to state finals

By Jonathan Deal
jonathan@athensnews-courier.com

Birmingham — It was just like practice Tuesday for Tanner senior Justin Smith at the 2A boys semifinal. After trailing for most the second half, Smith stood at the free-throw line with two seconds remaining with one shot at sending his team to a state championship game.

Smith closed his eyes and sent an arcing shot up and into the basket to give Tanner a 51-50 win over Luverne. The winning free-throw sent Tanner to the 2A finals where the Rattlers will play at 11 a.m. Friday against Lafayette.

“I missed the first one and I was real frustrated,” Smith said. “We shoot free-throws every day after practice. So, I just calmed myself down, took my time and shot the free throw.”

A back-and-forth game eventually was decided at the free-throw line where Tanner excelled at during fourth quarter, including Smith’s final decisive point with two seconds remaining in the game.

See the full story in Wednesday's print edition of the News Courier.