BIRMINGHAM — Justin Smith and Fred Rich scored 14 points each as Tanner High cruised past LaFayette 61-45 today in the Class 2A state title game.
Third-ranked Tanner (30-4) led the entire game, and by double-figures for most of the fourth quarter. When the final buzzer sounded, players participated in a brief, mild celebration in front of the Rattlers' bench at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena.
"We've been here, done this before," Tanner forward Fred Rich said. "I'm not saying that winning is getting old, but it is the expectation. Yeah, we're excited. This was our goal. But it's also what we expected."
Tanner raced out to a 17-10 lead and carried a 12-point cushion into halftime.
Jonathon Fletcher finished with 11 points for Tanner, while Jace Haggermaker added eight.
Smith was selected as the tournament MVP.
"We're so blessed to be in this situation," Smith said. "I don't think it's set in for me, yet. This is a pretty exciting moment."
The victory keeps Tanner in position to win three boys state crowns this year. The Rattlers won the football championship in the fall and will try to win track and field in the spring.
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