LeFlore High School honored its 2016 6A girls basketball state championship team on Thursday, presenting the Lady Rattlers with a banner to hang in the gymnasium as they presented the trophy to the school.
“It means a lot to our team, for the community to show us some love and to fellowship with the student body and let them be part of it too, because they were a part of it,” LeFlore coach Darrell Walton said of the ceremony. “They came to the games and supported the kids.”
The Lady Rattlers completed a 34-0 season with an 80-65 win over Homewood in the state championship game on March 5 at the BJCC Legacy Arena in Birmingham. Senior Japonica James scored 23 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to earn 6A state tournament MVP honors, while Jaz Hill had a state-record-tying seven 3-pointers among her 27 points.
Despite the impressive individual performances, Walton said the Lady Rattlers’ strength was playing as a team. “There was no I,” said Walton, who also led LeFlore to a state title in 2009. “They pulled together.”
Along with the presentation of the trophy and the banner, Thursday’s ceremony included a performance by the LeFlore marching band, a highlight video and a presentation from District 4 school commissioner Robert Battles, who gave each player a framed photo from the trophy presentation in Birmingham.
“We wanted to show the girls how much we appreciate all of their hard work, how much it rallies us as a school, and we want to continue with that momentum for the rest of the school term,” LeFlore Principal Alvin Dailey said. “The community is proud, the alumni are proud, we all are proud, and it’s an exciting time here at LeFlore High School.”