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Dobbs provides rides to Birmingham

The Lanett girls and boys basketball teams are trying to write their names in the history books this week. Both Panthers teams play on Wednesday in Birmingham in state semifinal games, and if they win, will play on Saturday for a 2A state championship.

The boys’ team reached Birmingham last year, falling in the state championship game, while the girls’ team hasn’t been to a state semifinal since 2012.

In order to get the Panther community to Birmingham, Lanett councilman and business owner Tifton Dobbs will be supplying transportation.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Dobbs said. “Even when I was living in Valley, I was always a Lanett fan because I came to work here in 1994 in the police department. I just fell in love with the community and the school even through their losing seasons. It’s just something about Lanett that I call home, even though I call home. It’s really important that we get as many fans there as possible.”

Tickets to ride the bus are $25. Masks are required to ride the bus, which will leave Lanett High School at 6 a.m. ET.

“It’s cheap to get them to go that far, so we kept the price low so they can cheer on their Panthers,” Dobbs said. “It’s very important that they go and support. I think it’s very important when the team looks up and sees the stands, and the stands are full of [people] from their hometown. It’s going to give them momentum to go out there and do the best they can.”

Dobbs knows the impact of having family and friends in the crowd for the players as two of his sons, Gabriel Cartwright and Dee Dobbs, both played for championships while at Lanett.

“Number one, I just thank God for having these motorcoaches in Lanett in the same town that we have champions,” Dobbs said. “It just lets me know that there is greatness in this town, there’s greatness in the teachers, coach [Clifford] Story and all the coaches that he supervises under his program. It’s just an honor to be able to haul bus-loads of fans, going to games to cheer on their Panthers. Lanett ought to be proud of the fanbase that it has. It is very well supported by their fans, family and their community.”

Once they arrive in Birmingham, students will check in with a staff member that is attending the game. Once they check in, the absence will be excused.

Lanett plays Hatton in the two semifinal games. The girls game starts at 10 a.m. EST, while the boys start at 12:30 EST.

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