BIRMINGHAM, AL -- The Luverne Boys Basketball Team controlled the first half of Friday's Class 2A State Championship Game. Elba controlled the moments that mattered most.
Elba overcame a double digit deficit in the first half, storming back after halftime to beat Luverene 66-61. With the win, Elba captured the first Boys Basketball State Championship in school history.
Martavious Gray led the Tigers furious rally, hitting several huge shots in the second half, including a 3-pointerwith 1:15 to play which gave Elba a four-point lead. Gray finished with 20 points, including four 3-pointers.
Cobe Goosby added 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Denzell Thomas chipped in 11 points, including a half court shot to beat the first half buzzer, which pulled Elba within seven points at the break.
Luverne controlled the first half, using a mix of stifling interior defense and timely shooting to build a double digit lead. Thomas' half court heave at the buzzer left top-ranked Luverne up 37-30 at halftime.
In the second half, Elba tightened up defensively, forcing several Luverne turnovers. Gray, Goosby and Darrean Burks did the rest, hitting timely shots, grabbing timely rebounds and sinking game clinching free throws down the stretch.
Along with Gray and Goosby's big second half performances, Burks came off the bench to score nine points. Elba (26-2) outscored Luverne 18-9 in the third quarter to take a two-point lead, then scored 18 more points in the final period to beat Luverne by five.
Quindarius Thagard led Luverne (25-3) with 20 points, with Preston Sankey chipping in 17 points. Luverne junior center Donta' Hall, a division one recruit, finished with just two points and seven rebounds.
Goosby was named 2A Tournament MVP, averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds over the Tigers two Final 48 wins. Elba's title game victory avenged two losses to Luverne during the regular season, which were the Tigers only two defeats of the year.