Multiple Teams · Creativity abound in Poets’ playoff win


Roger Davis drew on the relentless practice that the Sidney Lanier boys basketball team puts itself through in search of perfection.

Oh, it’s not part of the regular workout plan for the Poets — and coach Brian Williams admits he’s not part of it, either — but it highlighted Tuesday’s Class 6A subregional victory.

With Lanier pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 77-54 victory over Northview, the Poets got creative.

Davis threw three alley-oop passes, including one that bounced off the backboard into the soaring arms of Jamari Smith, to help the Poets return to the South Regional.

“It just happens,” Davis said. “We don’t practice it that much and we don’t do it a lot, but we do it sometimes.”

Williams simply shakes his head, claiming no part in Lanier’s dunk parade other than that of witness.

The Poets, he estimated, try different things “30, 45 minutes a day,” and those sessions are “before, after, in between” practice.

“I played my game below the rim,” Williams said. “I leave that skywalking stuff to these guys.”

It all helped Antwan Burnett finish with a game-high 21 points and Smith totaled 16. It helped push the Poets (18-10) back to Dothan, where they’ll play Spanish Fort at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Oh, and Davis had 19 points to himself.

“I like to pass it,” Davis said. “It gets my teammates involved and I love it when I help them get a chance to score.”

As far as his alley-oop targets, he listed Smith — nickname “Pork Chop” — along with Burnett and Jaylen Moncrief.

“What about me?” junior James Foster said, (jokingly) incredulous at the snub.

“(Davis) is a great passer, and we practice those every day,” Foster said. “Just throw it up there, but I can go get it, too.”

The alley-oops fueled a tawdry fourth quarter for Lanier. The Poets, down 6-4 after one quarter but ahead 50-38 after three, were 13-of-16 from the field in the final period.

And now they’re back in Dothan, where they lost to Faith-Mobile in last year’s 5A semifinals.

“When we walked off the floor last year, we knew this was our goal, to get back there and go further,” Williams said. “We felt we had a good team last year, and we fell short.

“From Day 1, we told our young guys that we had guys who had played in a regional, and we planned to get back.”

Friday’s game will mark Lanier’s sixth regional appearance in 10 years. The Poets last won a regional title in 2009.

“We know we need to play hard and compete because we know what it takes,” Davis said. “All the teams there are hungry. It’s who has the most heart that wins.”

Jabre Foster scored 12 points to lead Northview (16-13).