The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

March 1, 2013

BREAKING: Tanner claims second state title in 3 seasons

Rattlers take down LaFayette 61-45

— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The high-flying, fast-paced Tanner boys basketball team went old school in the closing minutes of Friday’s Class 2A state championship game.

Instead of its trademark dunks and frenetic style of play, the Rattlers staved off a furious rally by LaFayette with fundamental layups, methodical free throw shooting and a slowed-down offense that allowed the seconds to drain away the Bulldogs’ hopes of a massive upset.

No. 1 Tanner claimed its second state title in three seasons by beating LaFayette 61-45 in front of a roaring crowd at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena.

As it has all season, the Rattlers drew upon its balanced and athletic starting five — point guard Justin “Bubba” Smith, guard Greg Maclin, center Jace Haggermaker, forward Fred Rich and guard Desmond Love — and sophomore sixth man Jon-Jon Fletcher to finish off LaFayette, which went to a full-court press in the final period in an attempt to fuel a comeback.

But the Bulldogs’ gritty efforts were in vain as Tanner extended its 40-31 lead entering the fourth after allowing LaFayette to cut the lead to 46-38 midway through the quarter on a bucket by Tyric Davis.

Smith, the game MVP, stole the ball and drained a pair of free throws to give Tanner a 14-point advantage. A layup from RaQuavious “Qua” Boyd made it 52-42 with 4:07 remaining but the Bulldogs could get no closer as Love snagged his third steal of the game and found Fletcher — who opted for a simple layup rather than a flashy dunk — waiting at the other end of the floor for an easy basket to push the lead back to 12.

A driving layup and a putback by Rich, who also skipped throwing down one of his customary rim-rattling dunks, made a trey by LaFayette’s Kaminski Bledsoe a non-factor at 58-45 at the two-minute mark.

Fittingly, the Rattlers closed out their school’s fourth state title in two years — Tanner has won titles in basketball, track and football during that span — with a free throw by Fletcher and another pair of freebies by Smith.

Tanner shot 44.4 percent from the field, 40.0 from 3-point range and 70.8 from the charity stripe, while LaFayette was 33.3, 31.6 and 83.3 respectively. The Rattlers also won the turnover battle 14-8.

The Rattlers, who did not trail in the game, had several double-digit leads but could not put the feisty Bulldogs away until the closing minutes.

Fletcher came off the bench to score 11 points, including eight in the first half, and had three assists. Smith and Rich each had 14 points and combined for 12 rebounds. Love tossed in seven points and Maclin finished with five while guarding Boyd, LaFayette’s best player.

Tanner coach Chris Whitt, who has won more than 450 games and two state titles in 19 seasons, opted to go with a four-guard lineup and Rich in the post during several stretches to spell Haggermaker. Despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, Haggermaker, the Northwest Regional MVP, scored eight points and corralled five rebounds.

Boyd led LaFayette with 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists in a laudable 32-minute effort, while Davis and Kaminski Bledose each had six points.

Tanner, which went 14-3 against 3A-6A playoff teams this season, finishes 28-4, with its only losses coming to 6A Austin and James Clemens, 5A Cullman in the finals of the Yuletide Christmas Tournament and a rematch with 3A Madison Academy.

The six-player senior class for the Rattlers — Haggermaker, Smith, Maclin, Rich, Tray Fletcher and Deion Love — won the Limestone County, Area 15 and Northwest Regional tournament titles, in addition to winning its second Blue Map Trophy in three seasons.

Tanner is attempting to become the first school in the Tennessee Valley to win a state championship in three sports in the same school year since Hazlewood in 1985-86. The Rattlers won the 2A football title last fall, and will go for back-to-back track titles this spring.

LaFayette, despite being unranked, won the Northeast Regional and caps the season at 21-12.

Text Only
Local News 2
  • North win streak improves to 12

    The South last won 85-76 in in 2002.

    July 24, 2014

  • Local athletes lead North to soccer sweep

    East Limestone’s Dilan Sayer scored the opening goal and was named MVP of the boys game in a 3-0 win while Jordan Runion scored her team’s opening goal in a 3-1 for the girls.

    July 23, 2014

  • Davidson helps North tie

    She was one of only three North players to record a hit in the opener, which ended 3-3.
    Pitching duties were shared by Lexington’s Jessie Butler, Central-Florence’s Ashley Irons and Hartselle’s Jada Hayes along with eventual North MVP Maddie Moore of Winfield.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tedford, Potts take on the South in All-Star hoops game

    Stace Tedford has had a busy year at Athens. After leading the basketball team to a school-record 24 consecutive wins and regional finals appearance, he jumped straight into soccer season, where he took the varsity girls soccer team to another 5A state championship game.
    Wednesday, Tedford will be on the court again, coaching in the North-South All-Star basketball game.

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong local presence at state All-Star Week

    Some of the top rising seniors from the Athens-Limestone area will play in six of the games, beginning with softball and soccer games Tuesday.

    July 19, 2014

  • Chris Seibert -1996.jpg Before politics, Seibert played for the Tide

    A standout on West Limestone’s football team, Seibert’s road to Tuscaloosa wasn’t an easy one. Determined to play at the highest level, he attempted to join the Tide as a walk-on in fall 1993.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • State softball tournament begins in Athens today

    The three-day, double-elimination event begins at 6 tonight at the Athens Sportsplex.

    July 11, 2014

  • Run with goats Saturday

    Belle Chevre Creamery will hosts the first annual ‘Running with the Goats’ Saturday in downtown Elkmont. The event will feature a 10K, 5K and fun run on the certified Rails to Trails course.

    July 10, 2014

  • Softball team.JPG Athens softball team wins state

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • American Outlaws1.jpg American Outlaws: Locals band together to support U.S. soccer team

    One of the newest official chapters is in North Alabama where U.S. supporters have banded together to form American Outlaws Huntsville.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo



Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

     View Results
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee