Lakeland, FL---The Holmes Blue Devils are celebrating their first ever boy's state basketball championship. Coach White and company beating Panhandle foe West Gadsden Wednesday afternoon in the 1A title game at the Lakeland Center 59-40.
The teams played to a 25-24 first half, with Holmes holding the slight edge. The third quarter was all Blue Devils, a 13-3 run in that period giving them an 11 point lead into the 4th. Chris Walker and his teammates now about to let West Gadsden get back into it, pulling away to win by 19.
Walker scoring 30 points, hauling in 15 rebounds and blocking 7 shots. The Blue Devils end the season with a 9 game winning streak and an overall record of 20-8.
The Panthers see their season end at 25-10. Coach Andrew Moten's team having the misfortune of star senior Brandon Shingles going ice cold in the title game, he was 0-8 from the field, missing all 6 of his 3 point attempts. Shingles scored 24 in the semifinal game Tuesday.
After the victory, coach Poe White talked about finally nailing down that elusive state title for his team, his alma mater.
"Oh man it's an unbelievable feeling, I feel great, feel good. I'm a little bit exhausted right now to really enjoy so it hasn't sunk in, maybe in the next couple of days. But I'm just happy, happy for these kids because they fought hard these past two weeks. There was no quitting, they played hard on defense, played hard on offense. They just really, really got after it."
The Blue Devils heading back from Lakeland Wednesday evening, and were expected to arrive back at the school in the early morning hours.
The attached video shows the following:
Holmes technically the visiting team so they're wearing the dark uniforms.
They start strong, #4 is Jonathan Williams, he drives and scores, early 7 point lead for the Blue Devils.
With star senior Brandon Shingles ice cold, the Panthers get a big boost from Charis Fitsgerald, first the three from the wing.
Then he connects from the baseline, back to a one possession game.
Chris Walker though proves to be unstoppable down the stretch, first the drive, then two more off the feed inside, he scores 30 with 15 boards and 7 blocks.