Brainerd Looking For Better Ending at the State Tournament
Chattanooga-(WDEF) Brainerd jumps into state tournament action Thursday morning, and the Panthers are on a mission.
After losing in last year’s finale, Brainerd is determined to bring back the school’s first state title in 25 years.
In last year’s state title game, Brainerd led Knox Fulton 11-10 after the first quarter, but the Panthers scored only six points in the second quarter. They fell behind double digits, and their comeback fell short as they lost 59-50.
Said head coach Levar Brown:”We don’t like to make excuses about it. We do feel like we let one slip away once we cut that game down to one. We just ran out of gas.”
Brainerd had to settle for the silver ball.
Said Brown:”I’ll be honest with you, we still have not watched it. We can’t watch it.”
Said guard Michael Hampton:”Can’t explain the hurt. Think about it every day. Every day we come in here and look at the wall, it means a lot.”
Reporter:”What do you look at on the wall?”
Said Hampton:”This right here. We could have been so close right there to having our (state champ) picture up there.”
Said Brown:”There was a picture of us crying on the bench last year at that final game. So we share that picture. Just a reminder that we are going to go up and down throughout the year, but the goal is to not have this feeling anymore.”
Said forward Jordan Chapman:”We look at it every day. Every morning right before practice. Just to remind us that we don’t want that again. We’ve got to bust our butts every day in practice to be able to win the state championship game.”
With nine guys back from last year, the Panthers believe they have the experience to get the job done this time around in Murfreesboro.
Said Brown:”This year’s team showed a lot more leadership than previous years.”
Said Hampton:”Everybody on our team has a chip on their shoulder. Everybody has a story. Everybody has a story behind this to why we do this.”
Brainerd hopes to see the year 2017 added to their list of state champions.
Hampton:”The state championship. It’s not just for us. We do it for other people out here. It’s deep than just this. It’s deeper than basketball.”
Brainerd will face Haywood in the quarterfinals at 11am est in Murfreesboro.