By Andrew Glover
OKLAHOMA CITY —
Over the past couple of seasons, the Glencoe Panthers had a state basketball championship in grasp, reaching the state quarterfinals. Last season, the Panthers struck gold as they went 31-1 and won the Class A state championship.
The Panthers rolled through the regular season beating nearly all of its opponents by more than 25 points. Glencoe frequently scored in the 90s. The Panthers biggest win came near the end of the season, when they beat Pawnee 73-62 in a battle of undefeated teams on February 4. The Panthers won their first 27 games with their first loss coming in the area championship to Velma-Alma. That loss was all the motivation that Glencoe needed.
The Panthers faced the defending state champion Cheyenne-Reydon Bears in the quarterfinals. The contest started back and forth but Glencoe grabbed the momentum and took a 40-34 halftime lead. The Bears opened the second half with an 8-0 run to grab the lead. Ty Lazenby hit three 3-pointers to push Glencoe to a 53-45 advantage, which it carried to a 73-62 victory.
The state semifinals against the Sterling Tigers was a battle to the end. The Panthers led at halftime by two after holding as large as a 10-point margin in the first quarter. With three minutes left in the game, Glencoe held a 69-59 lead, which the Tigers cut to five. Lazenby came up big with 15 of his 35 points coming in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers reach the state title game with a 72-66 victory.
“I kept telling him, ‘pass, pass,” coach John Lazenby said. “Then he hits another one. Every time they hit a shot, Ty hit one back.”
In the state championship, No. 2 Glencoe was considered an underdog for the first time that season, facing top-ranked Weleetka. The Panthers jumped out to a first quarter lead and held a 26-22 halftime advantage. Glencoe led 38-35 after the third quarter. Ty Lazenby made two crucial free throws in the last seconds to clinch a 54-50 victory and was named state tournament MVP. It was Glencoe’s first state title since 2006.
“This is what a championship game should be like,” Coach Lazenby said. “It should come down to the last possession or two. It shouldn’t be easy. I told my guys all I want is to have more points on our side than theirs when the final horn sounds. When the final horn went off, I was like, ‘By golly we did it.’”