LAKELAND, FL (WJHG/WECP) The West Gadsden boys basketball team is the champ of the 1A class in Florida!
Coach Andrew Moten and the Panthers posting a convincing win Wednesday in the title game, beating Wildwood by 20 points, 64-44.
West Gadsden controlled the game from the outset, taking an 11-4 lead by the end of the first quarter. They stretched that lead to 10 by halftime, getting offensive contributions from several players.
In the second half, the Panthers pulled away, to win by the 20 point margin. Xavier Bush, Mark Bradwell and Rodarius Stokes each scoring 14. As a team the Panthers shot 50 percent from the floor.
"It means the world." coach Moten told us after the trophy ceremony. "Of course you know we're in a rural community. Economically depressed and all that other stuff. They don't have anything to get behind. They don't have anything to root behind but this team. That's all they've got. These guys came together and worked their butts off, as I said last night, and they got it done. This isn't for us. This is for that community now in Gadsden County."
Coach Moten has established a career and a name for himself in the game of basketball. He played at the University of Florida, travelled overseas, and was a star player. But of all of his accomplishments, he says this title means the most.
"I was told that upon taking the team, I was told, you've got a bunch of kids we can't do anything with. But if you saw these kids, they were disciplined at every point. They tried to get where I asked them to get and they did it. So I'm the proudest coach in the world right now."
This the 5th state title in the program's history, with the first four coming as Greensboro High School. The last of those in 1971 under coach Lamar McGlaun.