BIRMINGHAM – There was a future Alabama football connection on the basketball court Thursday in the Class 1A state basketball championship game.
Lanett’s Kristian Story, the state’s Mr. Football winner, and Pickens County’s Jah-Marien Latham, a first-team All-State player and 1A Lineman of the Year finalist, faced off on the hardwood at Legacy Arena with Latham’s Tornadoes clipped Story’s Panthers 57-55.
Both signed with the Crimson Tide in December.
“Playing with him at the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game is when I first started talking with him,” Latham said. “Just playing against him felt great. (Winning the title) is something I’ve wanted since I’ve been in high school.”
Latham has texted with Story since they were teammates on the All-Star team in December and is glad he’s going to have the Lanett star as a teammate again in Tuscaloosa.
Latham also had some words for him before Thursday’s tipoff.
“I texted him right before the game,” Latham said. “We were sitting across from each other. I told him don’t get scared now. I talked with him the first day of the Final Four. We talk every now and then when he’s on campus and I’m on campus at Alabama.”
Story was going for a double title for Lanett. He led the Panthers to the state football championship earlier this season. Despite losing the basketball title, Story said after the game he’s happy for Latham.
“He’s a very competitive guy and he was into it the entire game,” Story said. “The whole Pickens County team was there to play. We didn’t on this day and came up short.”
Story took the final shot for Lanett, which came up short.
“The rebound got knocked out back to me and I just tried to get to the goal and get a shot at it,” Story said. “Somebody stepped up in front of me so I tried to pull up and shoot it and it rolled around the rim and it came out.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at 205-722-0226, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2