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Breanna Glaze leads Lanett through playoff run

For the Lanett girls basketball team to reach the 2A Southeast regional championship, the Panthers needed to defeat the No. 6 team in 2A, a team that had won more than 20 games this season and featured a Division I commit. The Panthers outlasted Geneva County, winning by eight points.

Junior Breanna Glaze was a big reason for the Panthers’ success in the regional game, finishing with 31 points, continuing the hot streak she has been on since early January.

“We weren’t scared, but we were just nervous, especially for a Tennessee girl [Karoline Striplin] to come here to little old Lanett. We had to show them that we weren’t anything to play with,” Glaze said. “I feel like they took us as a joke, and we had to prove our point.”

Glaze, like a lot of players around the state this season, had to catch her stride midway through the season.

“It took her a while because of the pandemic. We really didn’t get an offseason to practice to do anything,” head coach Charlie Williams said. “All of them started off kind of rusty.”

Along with not having a summer to fine-tune their skills, Glaze and the rest of the Panthers missed most of the month of December, as the team was shut down for quarantine after playing just two games and breaking for the Christmas holiday.

The turning point in Glaze’s season was after the team’s loss to Ranburne on the road. It was the Panthers’ first game after returning from quarantine, and they struggled on the road, losing by 17 points.

In the loss, Glaze struggled to find her shot.

“She just said ‘coach, I have to step my game up,’” Williams said. “She sent me a long text and said ‘coach you don’t need to worry about me. I got you.’ From that point on, I haven’t had to worry about her since.”

Part of the early season struggle was the fact Glaze was rusty. Alongside struggling to find her consistent shot, Glaze was being guarded much differently in her junior year than her sophomore season. After breaking out with 17.4 points and 9.5 rebounds a game last year, opponents made her a focus.

“I just have been getting the shots that I wanted. I wasn’t getting them early in the year, but when I get the shot, I just have to take it,” Glaze said.

With their early-season struggles, the Panthers felt like they had been written off this season, so the seniors came up with a motto that has been pushing them through their playoff run.

“I feel like we’ve been very overlooked by everybody,” Glaze said. “The motto is ‘prove them wrong,’ and I feel like we’ve been proving them wrong. We have to keep and continue to prove them wrong. We have to stand to that motto.”

The win against Geneva County put Lanett in the regional championship game for the first time in five years. Only two current players were on the team that went to the regional championship in Jacksonville, though neither of them played big minutes. Now, Lanett is trying to punch its ticket to Birmingham.

“I’m just trying to finish and trying to go all the way. We’ve never made it this far,” Glaze said.

In Montgomery, the Panthers will play LaFayette for the fourth time this season. LaFayette won two of the previous three games, including the 2A Area 7 championship, winning on an Ebony Williams 3-point shot in the corner with less than three seconds remaining in the game.

“No disrespect, but I’m tired of LaFayette,” Glaze said. “I feel like we just have to redeem ourselves because in our last game, I feel like we just got too comfortable at the end of the game. This time, we just have to go in and take charge and finish strong.”

Though none of his current players have gone this far in their careers, Williams is making sure his team is relaxed before hitting the road.

“Just relax and have fun. It’s still a basketball game,” Williams said. “Let all the outside people build it up to be more than what it is. We’re just going to play basketball. That’s the only thing we can do. We can’t dictate where we’re playing, how we’re playing and when we’re playing. They say we’re playing at 10 o’clock in the morning, we’re going to be playing at 10 o’clock in the morning. That’s all we can do is go play.”

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