Luverne#039;s title dream dashed by Panthers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 2, 2006

TROY - A nightmarish start in the first quarter ended Luverne High School's dream of a Class 2A boys basketball state championship.

Lanett burst to a 19-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back, defeating the Tigers 76-50 on Friday at Trojan Arena.

Thirteen Luverne turnovers in the first quarter put the Tigers in a hole from which there was no escape.

&uot;It surprised me,&uot; Luverne coach Richard Dorsey said of the horrific start.

&uot;All those turnovers from an experienced club like ours.&uot;

Lanett (24-5) came out firing, too. Deontra Marbury and Jakana Brooks scored 8 points each in the first quarter. The Panthers made 11 of their 18 shots in the first quarter, 61 percent.

Luverne hit a respectable 4 of 9 first-quarter shots, but the turnovers limited the number of scoring opportunities.

The high-energy, half-court trapping pace of the game was set early by Lanett.

&uot;That's not how we play - that's how they play,&uot; Dorsey noted.

Fred Hawkins was almost a one-man team for Luverne (17-11). He scored all of

the Tigers 10 first-quarter points. He finished with 25, the only Tiger in double figures.

&uot;He tried to will us to a win, but he just couldn't get any help,&uot; Dorsey said.

Lanett led by as many as 25 in the first half before Luverne cut it to 40-23 by halftime.

The Tigers got as close as 40-27 early in the third quarter before a 17-2 burst by the Panthers put the game on ice. Lanett led 57-31 going into the fourth quarter and its lead never got under 20 points from there.

Marbury led the Panthers with 17 points. Brooks scored 14, Julian McCoy 12 and Nick Gagnon 10. Gagnon also led Lanett with seven rebounds. The Panthers enjoyed a 43-33 rebounding advantage.

Hawkins had five rebounds to go with his 25 points for Luverne. Gary Franklin finished with 8 points. D.J. McCreary led the Tigers on the boards with seven rebounds.

— Josh Moon of the Montgomery Advertiser contributed to this report.