BY Jonathan Deal and Kim West
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 fast-paced 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’ hope 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.
“I told the guys before the game, we haven’t played our best game since two or three weeks ago,” Tanner coach Chris Whitt said. “Several of these guys came out focused and brought it home. I’m so proud of them. Because of last year’s disappointment, these guys really deserved this because of all the work they’ve had to go through.”