The Lauderdale County Boys basketball team is now just four quarters away from its first state championship. After falling short in the semifinal game in 2018, the Tigers made sure that didn't happen again.
Lauderdale County last played in the state finals game in 2007, and will now return on Friday after beating Hale County 63-41 in the 3A boys semifinals at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
Playing in the state championship game is a dream for sophomore Eric Fuqua.
"I always took those shots in the yard, just thinking about that, and it's just unbelievable to play in one, about to play in one," Fuqua said.
The seniors know how hard it is just to get to the title game, after falling short in 2018 semifinals.
"We just have more experience, and that experience two years ago helped us alot to play in this game," senior guard Juvonne Shanes, said.
Connor Smith was a part of that team, and says that loss prepped Lauderdale County for Tuesday's win.
"We kind of knew what to expect, we had a really good gameplan going in," Smith said.
The Tigers won 17 of their last 18 games heading into their semifinal matchup with the Hale County Wildcats. After a hot start, the Tigers were able to pounce in the second half, holding Hale County to only 15 percent shooting in the third quarter.
"Alot of help from backside, that we needed so we could crowd the lane, so defense was huge," Head Coach Mark Newton said.
The Lauderdale County Lady Tigers have a filled trophy case, 13 state championships. The boys now have a chance to put one in their own.
"It'd really mean alot if we go out there and win it, for our city, for our community," Shanes said.
The Tigers will take on Pike County for the state finals on Friday.