Panthers Win State Championship

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Panthers Win State Championship

The Panthers react to winning the state title in 4A basketball.

The Panthers react to winning the state title in 4A basketball.

The Panthers react to winning the state title in 4A basketball.

The Panthers react to winning the state title in 4A basketball.

Koesha Davis, Journalist

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The Panther basketball team won the Class 4A State Finals Championship title with a 78-76 score against the Little Rock Mills. The game was played in Hot Springs March 9.

(See additional photos in the Gallery.)

After both teams tied 76-76, the game went into overtime, and Braelyn Beasley made the winning two-point shot for the Panthers.

Freshman Derrian Ford ended the game with 28 points and was named the most valuable player.

Freshman Colby Garland, along with Derrian Ford, are recognized as two of the best freshman in the state.

When asked about the team’s performance, Garland said, “All the hard work in the off season  — blood, sweat, and tears — all paid off, and we accomplished our goal that we set at the beginning of the season.”

Magnolia reportedly had the most fans to attend the game, out of all the semi-finalists, with an estimated 7,000 cheering fans present in the stands.

Asked about the win, Kadyn Roach, senior, said, “We just executed coach’s game plan and wanted it more.”

After Beasley made the winning shot, the ball was turned over to Mills. Ford was able to block the ball from being thrown in the basket by the opponent. Then the ball was given to the Panthers, and as time ran out on the clock, Markeveon Strickland held the ball and the Panthers won.

Manager Shermar Easter said, “They shocked the world and they played hard and the results were in our favor.”

Garland added, “Nobody ever thought we’d even make it close and look at us now — state champs.”

The team is now eagerly waiting on the state rings to come in. Asked what it’s like being a state champion, Korey Fulton said, “It seems unreal to me. Every athlete dreams about winning a state championship, but very few actually do.”

Fulton added, “It’s unbelievable!”

 

 

 

 

 

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