Oklahoma City —
Latta’s big second half included a 26-18 fourth-quarter advantage. The Panther also hit a blistering 9-of-13 field goals in the second half and owned a sizable 35-24 rebounding edge in the contest.
Treston Tully scored 13 points for Latta, including a 7-of-8 effort from the free-throw line while Brogan Cantrell just missed double figures with nine points to go with six rebounds.
Epperly added seven points and seven rebounds.
Rivera led Haworth with 18 points but had just five after halftime. Dorian Threadgill hit two 3-pointers in the final seconds and ended with nine points, while Griffin had six points and six steals before fouling out.
Husband said this year’s state title run was decidedly tougher than the 2013 championship campaign.
“There’s no doubt, the second one. The first one was very difficult, and we played great here last year. It was easier road to get here,” he said. “This year we faced six straight teams (in the playoffs) that I thought were state tournament teams. A lot of them were close games, and we were fortunate enough to get by them.
"It’s just a tribute to our kids that they found a win to win those games — bad matchups and everything. We overcame and really grew. We faced a tough road to get to this point.”
But even through all the bumps in the road — which included gritty playoff wins over Stratford, Wewoka and Christian Heritage and two hard-fought victories over Haworth — these Panthers refused to lose.
They wouldn’t be denied another gold ball.