Welsh, Panthers Get First State Championship With Lanston Hughes 73-52 Win Over Brunswick For 6A Tit
Thursday's night cap of the Georgia High School Association Championship Games would feature the Langston Hughes Panthers against the Brunswick Pirates for the Boys 6A Title. As the game tipped off, Langston’s #1 Sr. Derrick Cook (19 pts, 7 rbs) would put the Panthers on the board first with a three point basket and Brunwick’s #23 Jr. Marcus Scott (14 pts) would answer with a three pointer of his own to tie the game. As play continued, up 5-3, the Panthers would take a 7-3 lead but Brunswick would answer back with another three pointer from Scott to make it a 8-6 game. As the quarter got down to 1:24 remaining, Langston Hughes would take 14-10 lead and go on to close out the quarter with a 19-15 lead.
Brunswick would open up the second quarter cutting the Langston lead to two after a dunk by #22 Sr. Kyami Dunham (10 pts, 4 rbs) to make it a 19-17 game. The Panthers would then feel the momentum swing their way going on a 7-0 run to make it a 26-17 game, forcing Brunswick to call timeout with 5:45 remaining in the half. Out of the timeout, Harrison’s #4 Jr. Earl Bell would drain a three to cut the Panthers lead to six as Langston led 26-20 with 4:50 remaining. With time winding down, Brunswick would cut the Langston lead to one but the Panthers would climb back up four after #21 Jr. Landers Nolley (26 pts, 6 rbs) would make a two point basket and draw a foul, completing the three point play to make it a 31-27 Panthers lead with :50 remaining.
After Brunswick’s Dunham drew a shooting foul, Brunswick would trail 31-29 with :30 remaining but Langston would go back up four with :15 to go, however Brunswick would manage to go into the locker room only trailing the Panthers by two as Langston led 33-31 at the half. The second half would open up with each team scoring on their first possessions but Brunswick would knock down a three to make it a 36-35 game. The Panthers would then begin to apply full court pressure which would cause trouble for Brunswick and a turnover would lead to a Nolley dunk for Langston as the Panthers were back up 40-38. With 4:34 to go in the third.
As time would wind down, the Panthers would build their lead back up to five as they led 47-42 with 1:42 remaining in the third and would call timeout to discuss things. Out of the timeout, Brunswick would close the Langston Hughes lead and would end the third quarter trailing the Panthers 47-44. In the fourth, Nolley would spark the Panthers crowd when he made a two point basket and drew a foul, completing the three point play to give Langston a 50-44 lead just seconds into the period.
As the quarter went on, the Panthers would once again feel the momentum and go on a 8-0 run taking a 58-44 lead forcing Brunswick to use a timeout with 5:23 to go. The Panthers momentum would only continue to build as forced turnovers by the Langston defense would help them mount a 19 point lead as they led Brunswick 71-52 with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter and would go on to win by a final score of 73-52 and become the GHSA Boys Basketball 6A Champions. This was the first state title win for Langston Hughes and for the Panthers Head Coach, Rory Welsh. After the game Welsh had this to say about his first State Championship, "first thing we tell these guys, you never ever quit. No matter how bad things get, no matter how much adversity there is. You stick together as a family, fight through it and you keep on trucking win lose or draw!"