BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT/AHSAA) – Pickens County, trailed Lanett by nine points heading into the final quarter, struck like a tornado in the first minute of the final period with a press that created three quick baskets. The two teams battled toe-to-toe the rest of the way as Pickens County climaxed its comeback with a 57-55 win to claim the AHSAA Class 1A Boys state basketball championship.
Coach Marcuss Barnes’ Tornadoes (26-3) captured the school’s fourth state title overall in the process. Pickens County outscored the Panthers 23-12 in the final period thanks in big part by the play of 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior center Jah-Marien Latham and 6-1 sophomore guard Javion Bell. Latham had 12 points and 12 rebounds – including eight offensive boards – and Bell finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers to earn MVP honors.
Darian Doss, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, put the Tornadoes ahead with 2:22 with a layup and got a crucial free throw with 14 seconds left to for the final point of the game. He finished 4-for-5 at the foul line. Jawan Petty also had nine points.
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