BIRMINGHAM — Larry Greene was perched on his seat, like always.
Leaning forward and hands clasped in front of him, Tanner's girls basketball coach watched much of Tuesday's Class 2A girls semifinal state tournament game against Prattville Christian unfold in front of him.
He wasn't enthralled with what he was watching, especially in the first half of what turned out to be a season-ending 52-31 loss to the unbeaten Panthers.
When his team wasn't turning the ball over in the first half (18 times), it was shooting and mostly missing (3 of 15). And the Rattlers had no answer for 6-foot-1 Troy signee Kristen Emerson, who finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds while handling the ball like a point guard.
The loss ended a nice postseason run by the Rattlers, who upset two teams ranked in the Top 10 to make it to the Final 48 for the first time since 2009. It was an uphill battle all season, but the team found its stride in victories over No. 4 Lexington and No. 6 Cold Springs despite its sub-.500 record.
There's been speculation that Greene will call it a career. After the game, Greene was non-committal about his future on Tanner's sideline.
He chuckled when asked if he has one more year in him sitting on Tanner's bench.
"I don't know about that," he said. "We'll sort of step back and look and take a little time to relax. We'll make some sort of a decision if we want to try one more year or hang it up."
If it was Greene's last hurrah with Tanner, the Rattlers went down swinging. They started the season 1-6 and were 12-16 at the start of the playoffs.
Sydney Houston started a three-game winning streak with a game-winning shot in the area tournament against Lexington and the momentum built from there — until Tuesday's loss. They ended the season with a 15-17 record.
Green said he has enjoyed this season despite its pratfalls.
"It's been great for the kids," he said. "They never stopped believing in themselves. They aren't supposed to be here, and I think every one of them would tell you that. They wouldn't quit when we got down early in the season. The last three weeks they started to win and believe."
Tears stained the faces of Houston and Samara French in the postgame media session, evidence of the hurt of the season-ending loss. Greene, though, reiterated they had nothing to be ashamed of.
"I told them in the locker room that nobody can take away that they are Limestone County champions, area champions, regional champions, and they made it to the Final Four," he said. "That's something they'll remember for a lifetime. It didn't end the way we wanted it to, and I don't know if we had have had a good day we could have beat them. Prattville Christian is a very good team. But they never quit."
That's likely a quality this year's Tanner girls team picked up from their coach.
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