GLENS FALLS — Ending the game on a 13-0 run will certainly do you well, and it did for Fannie Lou Hamer on Sunday afternoon in the Class B federation championship at the Cool Insuring Arena, beating Mekeel by a final score of 74-62.
Mekeel had stayed with Hamer the entire game, staying within striking distance the entire way. Shortly after the fourth quarter began with Mekeel down 58-49, they went on a 13-3 run and eventually found themselves up by one with a little more than four minutes to play after an inside score from junior Gideon Agbo.
“They got ahead of us, we reeled them back in, they got ahead of us, we got up one,” Mekeel coach Chad Bowman said. “There’s an opportunity.”
After this, it was the Panthers who took over. After Anthony Rose hit two big shots and Tyree Morris hit a pair of free throws, Fannie Lou Hamer found themselves up 67-62 with under two minutes to play, but Mekeel was pressuring to score.
Then, Jaquan Mack came up with possibly the biggest shot of the afternoon, a three with 75 seconds to go that made it a 70-62 game, a shot that can very well be seen as the dagger. It was Mack’s only three as part of an otherwise quiet seven-point afternoon, but it was the shot that lifted Fannie Lou Hamer to the title.
“The execution picked up. I think you got to give credit to Anthony Rose for making those big buckets, and we got the defensive stops that we needed,” Fannie Lou Hamer coach Marc Skelton said.
It had not been that easy all game for the Panthers. Mekeel did stay with them, just being pesky the entire way. Jordan Jackson was a huge part of the Lions’ effort as he scored a team-high 29 points in his final high school game. Deonte Holder also had a huge day, scoring 15 points.
“We played our butts off today, our last high school game. It kind of sucks that we didn’t win Federation, but we accomplished a lot and I’m proud of our team,” Jackson said.
Tyree Morris and Charles Davis were the ones who came up big for Hamer all day. Morris had 23 points, while Davis had 19 points while shooting 5-6 from three, being named the tournament MVP.
“(Coach) expects me to take big shots like that since I’m a junior going into my senior year, so I got to just step up for the team,” Morris said.
Fannie Lou Hamer, a school that is located in the Bronx and is part of the PSAL, wins their first Federation title in school history.
“I think it’s important for the school and the community,” Skelton said. “It does mean something in terms of that you don’t know now, but in later years when you look back and you know that 2018 was Fannie Lou’s year, it’s special.”
As for Mekeel, they finish off the best season in program history. They set the program’s single-season wins record with 25 while finishing with four losses, a NYSPHSAA championship and a runner-up finish in the Federation tournament.
Bowman said that despite the loss, the team has nothing to disappointed about. “I literally could not be more proud of our guys and our team, what they’ve accomplished, the love that went on, we’re really lucky.”