Georgiana celebrates Panther championship

Published 9:42 am Saturday, March 16, 2024

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Butler County Schools hosted a celebration Saturday, coming together with Panther fans to honor Georgiana School’s varsity boys’ basketball team as the AHSAA Class 1A Champions.

The Panthers clinched the championship in a 55-44 win over Covenant Christian on Feb. 29. Fans from Georgiana and across Butler County gathered March 9 for a spirited parade at 2 p.m. when players and coaches processed from the Hank Willis Museum to the Hank Williams Pavilion where festivities and congratulatory ceremonies honored the home-town team.

Georgiana resident Elmira Benson, whose children attended Georgiana School, said she wanted to witness the first Panther championship parade held for many years.

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“I’m here today because I wanted to see the championship parade for the first time in Georgiana in a long time,” Bentley said. “I want to just enjoy watching.”

Carver High School in Montgomery brought out its marching band, adding a high note to the festivities. Carver Band Director Brandon Williams said the band of between 60 and 70 members present was pleased to be invited to the celebration.

“We are here today because we were asked,” Williams said just before the parade. “Someone recommended they get us [to attend]. We had to make some things move and shake a little bit to get down here, but we’re here and we’re ready to participate.”

Georgiana parent Dixie Black, whose son Chase helped with school media coverage for the Panthers, said she wanted to celebrate the teams’ hard-earned win.

“They have come close [to winning the championship] so many times and it just finally came together,” Black said. “Coach Norris has worked so hard with these kids from the time they started school to the time they graduated. He’s always been there for them, so this [win] finally brings it home.”

Panthers’ football defensive coordinator Jimmy Burleson explained many basketball players are involved in football and other school sports. He shows up, like many other community members, to cheer for and encourage the student-athletes at every opportunity.

“We’re here to support each and every one of the student-athletes at Georgiana,” Burleson said. “It’s very important for the community to come out, regardless of what sport it is, to support the young men and coaches. It isn’t about just one sport. It’s about everything here in Georgiana.”